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Animal Control Complaints: More Bark than Bite?

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One of Speller's five hunting beagles
SPRING LAKE — One Cumberland County town is looking at ways to put more teeth into itsanimal control laws. One of the possibilities being discussed is a two doglimit per household.

The reason for the uproar? Local residents have complained not only aboutthe 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 donot. There are a lot of fences and a lot of signs warning people tobeware.

Daniel Speller enjoys playing with his rottweiler Zeus, but his love ofdogs stops at the back fence. A neighbor has more than 10 pit bulls whichSpeller 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 nearthe dogs' fence. He's afraid one may break loose. If that happens,Speller wants to protect himself. As a pee-wee football coach, Speller isalso concerned for the kids. He says he can't have them overunattended with the number of dogs practically in his backyard.

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

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

Right now the town is working on a new ordinance. The mayor says there isno set limit yet-- maybe two, maybe three. That's still yet to bedetermined. There are likely to be exceptions for hunting dogs and forpuppies. One thing's for sure. Before anything is decided, there will bea public hearing.

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