Local News

Animal Control Complaints: More Bark than Bite?

Posted June 18, 1997

— One Cumberland County town is looking at ways to put more teeth into its animal control laws. One of the possibilities being discussed is a two dog limit per household.

The reason for the uproar? Local residents have complained not only about the number of dogs in the area, but the way many of them are treated. Several of those complaints have come from the new Holly Hill subdivision. Walking around the area, there's a feeling more people own dogs than do not. There are a lot of fences and a lot of signs warning people to beware.

Daniel Speller enjoys playing with his rottweiler Zeus, but his love of dogs stops at the back fence. A neighbor has more than 10 pit bulls which Speller says bark up a storm, create a stink, and put a scare into you.

Speller is so cautious, he carries a pistol when he mows the grass near the dogs' fence. He's afraid one may break loose. If that happens, Speller wants to protect himself. As a pee-wee football coach, Speller is also concerned for the kids. He says he can't have them over unattended with the number of dogs practically in his backyard.

Speller has complained about this to Spring Lake leaders. Now they're considering limiting the number of dogs allowed to be kept as pets. To Speller, four dogs is plenty to have in one household.

Down the street, the owner of several other dogs refused to comment. But one of his neighbors did. Terrence Mackie owns five hunting beagles which he says are well cared for. Mackie puts them in elevated cages to keep them away from ticks, fleas, and their own waste. He plans to fight any proposal putting a limit on dogs.

Right now the town is working on a new ordinance. The mayor says there is no set limit yet-- maybe two, maybe three. That's still yet to be determined. There are likely to be exceptions for hunting dogs and for puppies. One thing's for sure. Before anything is decided, there will be a public hearing.


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