§ 3-4-2. Definitions  

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  • For the purpose of this subchapter, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

    Abandoned animal means any animal which shall have been placed upon public property or within a public building unattended and unsupervised or upon or within the private property of another without the express permission of the owner, custodian or tenant of the private property and is unattended or without care. An animal shall also be considered as abandoned, for the purposes of this subchapter, which has been upon or within the property of the owner or custodian of this animal for a period of time in excess of thirty-six (36) hours unattended and without adequate food, water and shelter.

    Adequate food means sufficient quantity of non-contaminated and nutritionally healthy sustenance that is appropriate to the species, breed, size, age and health of the animal, or at the direction of a licensed veterinarian, which is sufficient to prevent starvation, malnutrition, or risk to the animal's health. Garbage, spoiled, rancid, or contaminated food is not adequate food.

    Adequate shelter means protective cover appropriate for the species and providing adequate space to maintain the animal in good health, which also prevents pain, suffering or a significant risk to the animal's health. Adequate shelter shall consist of a completely enclosed structure with four (4) sides with a door opening, a constructed floor, and a roof. It should also be clean, dry and compatible with current weather conditions, in addition to age, size, species and condition of the animal. The structure should be of sufficient size to allow the animal to stand, turn around, lie down and go in and out of the structure comfortably. Adequate shelter must be compatible with the number of animals on the property.

    (a) Adequate shelter includes, but is not limited to, the following:

    1. Sufficient coverage and insulation to protect an animal from extreme hot and cold temperatures;

    2. Sufficient protection from the elements to keep the animal dry;

    3. Sufficient shade and ventilation to prevent an animal from overheating and/or dehydrating; and

    4. Adequate bedding or resting area suitable for the breed, species, age, size, and medical condition of the animal.

    (b) Materials not suitable for shelters include, but are not limited to:

    1. Inadequately insulated containers;

    2. Plastic kennels or airline type animal shipping crates;

    3. Metal or plastic drums;

    4. Abandoned or parked vehicles;

    5. Uncovered porches or decks;

    6. Lean-tos;

    7. Any other structure that fails to provide sufficient protection from the elements.

    Adequate space means a sufficient safe space for adequate exercise suitable to the age, size, species and breed of animal.

    Adequate veterinary care means medical care of an animal from or under the direction of a veterinarian and necessary to maintain the health of an animal based on the age, species, breed, etc., of the animal, or to prevent an animal from suffering from:

    (a) Ongoing infections;

    (b) Infestation of parasites;

    (c) Disease; or

    (d) Any other medical condition/injury where withholding or neglecting to provide such care would:

    1. Endanger the health or welfare of the animal; or

    2. Promote the spread of communicable diseases.

    Adequate water means clear, clean, drinkable water in adequate supply. Examples of inadequate water include, but are not limited to: snow, ice, rainwater and rancid/contaminated water.

    Animal control officer means any person designated by the board of commissioners by and through the director of the Animal Care and Control Department of Henry County, Georgia, to enforce the provisions of this subchapter.

    Animal shelter means the facilities operated by Henry County for confining animals impounded or surrendered under the provisions of this subchapter.

    Animal under restraint means:

    (a) Any animal secured by a leash or lead with a collar, or enclosed by way of a fence or other enclosure;

    (b) Any animal under the immediate supervision and immediate proximity of a responsible and competent person at least sixteen (16) years of age, obedient to the person's commands, and located within the boundaries of property owned, leased or occupied by the owner (as defined herein); or

    (c) A dog in the act of being trained or used for hunting in conformance with the game laws of the State of Georgia. This definition shall not apply to cats.

    Animals shall be defined as follows:

    (a) Domestic animals. Animals that are accustomed to live in or about the habitation of humans, that are not found naturally in the wild state, including, but not limited to, cats, cattle, dogs, fowl, goats, horses, swine, and various genetically established strains of laboratory/pet animals such as mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs and rabbits.

    (b) Feral animals. Domestic animals which have reverted back to a wild state and do not exhibit traits consistent with their intended use.

    (c) Native wildlife animals. A nondomesticated animal which is normally found in the natural state within the confines of Georgia.

    (d) Nonnative or exotic wildlife animals. A nondomesticated animal which is not normally found in the natural state within the confines of Georgia.

    (e) Domestic/wild animals. An established strain of wild animal which is generally used in the fur or pet industry including, but not limited to, ranch mink, ferrets and brown and white skunks.

    Authority means an animal control board or local board of health, as determined by the governing authority of a local government.

    Board means the animal control board.

    Certificate means a certificate or document issued at the time of vaccination for rabies of a dog or cat and bearing thereon the signature of the vaccinator, the vaccination tag number, the name, color, breed and sex of the dog or cat, the name and address of the owner, and the date of the vaccination.

    Classified dog means any dog that has been classified as either a dangerous dog or vicious dog pursuant to this article.

    County governing authority means the board of commissioners of Henry County, Georgia.

    Cruelty to animals means;

    (a) The neglect, an act, or an omission, which causes unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death to any living animal, including without limitation, the injuring, beating, choking, shooting, stabbing, burning, overworking or otherwise physically harming any animal.

    (b) Animal hoarding.

    (c) Leaving an animal unattended in a parked vehicle without proper ventilation such that will prevent the animal from suffering physical distress from dangerous temperatures, lack of food or lack of water.

    This definition does not include the killing of animals raised for the purpose of providing food nor does it apply to any person who hunts wild animals in compliance with the game and fish laws of the State.

    Current vaccination tag means a metal tag issued by the Georgia Department of Human Resources, or other state agency, which bears a number showing that it is current for a one-year up to a three-year period for immunization of rabies.

    Dangerous dog means any dog that:

    (1) Causes a substantial puncture of a person's skin by teeth without causing serious injury; provided, however, that a nip, scratch, or abrasion shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subparagraph;

    (2) Aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury to such person or another person although no such injury occurs; provided, however, that the acts of barking, growling, or showing of teeth by a dog shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subparagraph; or

    (3) While off the owner's property, kills a pet animal; provided, however, that this subparagraph shall not apply where the death of such pet animal is caused by a dog that is working or training as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog.

    Disturbing noises means the owning, possessing or harboring of any animal which frequently, or for continued duration, howls, barks, meows, squawks or makes other sounds which annoy or disturb an ordinary reasonable person of normal sensitivities across a residential or commercial boundary line or within a noise-sensitive area. For the purpose of this article, "barking dog" shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise incessantly for a period of fifteen (15) minutes, or barks continuously for one-half (½) hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that a dog shall not be deemed a "barking dog" if, at the time the dog is barking making any other noise, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon property in or upon which the dog is situated.

    Dog control officer means an individual selected by a local government pursuant to the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 4-8-22 to aid in the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article.

    Estrus means a regular period of female dogs and cats in which the animal seeks to mate or breed.

    Fence means:

    (a) Structure of wire, wood, stone, or other materials which is of sufficient height and strength to act as a barrier against passage of the animal or animals it is intended to enclose.

    (b) Invisible containment systems in which a collar provides an electric shock which prevents an animal from leaving the property of its owner provided the animal is a dog which is neither classified as vicious or dangerous nor in estrus. If an invisible containment system is in use:

    (1) A sign must be visibly posted on the property indicating that the system is in place.

    (2) The system must effectively restrain the animal.

    Dogs which are "vicious" or "dangerous" as herein defined shall be restrained in an enclosure which not only restrains the animal from leaving the owner's property, but also protects persons who may come onto the property from harm. Female dogs in estrus shall be restrained in such a way which can reasonably be expected not attract males of the same species.

    Guard dog means any dog which has been trained to attack persons or other animals independently or upon oral command and any dog which, while not so trained, is reasonably expected to perform as a guardian of the property upon and/or within which it is located.

    Hoarding means:

    (a) Collecting animals and failing to provide them with humane/adequate care;

    (b) Collecting dead animals that are not properly disposed of as required by this chapter; or

    (c) Collecting, housing, or harboring animals in filthy, unsanitary conditions that constitute a health hazard to the animals being kept, and/or to the animals or residents of adjacent property.

    Humane manner means to provide care for an animal to include, but not necessarily limited to, adequate food, water, shelter, space and veterinary care or manner of restraint.

    Inhumane manner means:

    (a) The failure to provide humane care;

    (b) Restraining an animal in such a way that it cannot access food and water or to move about freely in an area of reasonable size considering the size and nature of the animal;

    (c) An act or failure to act which causes death or unjustifiable pain or suffering to an animal.

    Mail means to send by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the recipient's last known address.

    Miniature goat means a goat which does not exceed forty (40) pounds.

    Miniature pig means a pig which does not exceed one hundred (100) pounds.

    Owner means any person or any legal entity, including, but not limited to, a corporation, partnership, firm, or trust owning, possessing, harboring, keeping, or having custody or control of a dog. In the case of a dog owned by a minor, the term "owner" includes the parents or person in loco parentis with custody of the minor.

    Person means an individual, firm, corporation, municipality, society or owner.

    Proper enclosure means an enclosure for keeping a vicious dog or dangerous dog while on the owner's property securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen, fence, or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping. Any such pen or structure shall have secure sides and secure top, and, if the dog is enclosed within a fence, all sides of the fence shall be of sufficient height and the bottom of the fence shall be constructed or secured in such a manner as to prevent the dog's escape either from over or from under the fence. Any such enclosure shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.

    Public nuisance means any animal which:

    (a) Is vicious;

    (b) Causes unsanitary conditions;

    (c) Attacks passersby or passing vehicles;

    (d) Is found repeatedly unrestrained;

    (e) Damages property of others;

    (f) Excessively produces disturbing noises;

    (g) Female dog or cat in estrus not confined in a manner which can reasonably be expected to keep away or not attract males of the same species; or

    (h) Is inimical to the public health, welfare or safety according to the rules and regulations promulgated by the Henry County Board of Health, which rules and regulations are incorporated herein and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.

    Rescue group means any individual or entity that houses and cares for rescue animals until permanent homes can be located and that maintains all required federal, state and local licenses/registrations.

    Records of an appropriate authority means records of any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency; records of any county or municipal animal control agency; records of any county board of health; records of any federal, state, or local court; or records of a dog control officer as provided in this article and by the laws of the State of Georgia.

    Serious injury means any physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death; results in death, broken or dislocated bones, lacerations requiring multiple sutures, or disfiguring avulsions; requires plastic surgery or admission to a hospital; or results in protracted impairment of health, including transmission of an infection or contagious disease, or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.

    Sterilized means the surgical alteration of an animal rendering that animal unable to produce offspring.

    Unsanitary conditions means an animal living space, including shelter and exercise area, contaminated by health hazards, irritants, items or conditions that endanger or pose a risk to an animal's health, including, but not limited to:

    (a) Excessive animal waste;

    (b) Garbage, trash or an outflow of waste;

    (c) Standing water or mud;

    (d) Rancid/contaminated food or water;

    (e) Fumes, foul or noxious odors, contaminated air, hazardous chemicals or poisons;

    (f) Decaying materials;

    (g) Uncontrolled parasite or rodent infestation;

    (h) Areas that contain nails, screws, broken glass, broken boards, pits, poisons, sharp implements or other items that could cause injury, illness or death to an animal.

    Vaccinate means the proper administration, by a licensed veterinarian, of a specified dose of anti-rabidic vaccine into a dog or cat, such vaccine having the U.S. government license number approval stamped on the label of the vaccine container and having been approved by the state department of human resources, or other state agency.

    Veterinarian means any person who holds a license to practice the profession of veterinary medicine in the state.

    Vicious dog means a dog that inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person resulting from reasonable attempts to escape from the dog's attack.

(Ord. No. 12-12, § II, 7-16-12)