Two pet ordinances passed, one pushed back by Florence city leaders

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FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) - Florence City Council members voted to adopt two of three proposed pet ordinances Tuesday.

The ordinances that passed include banning tethers for pets all together. When the ordinance goes into effect, pet owners will have six months to build fences or kennels for their dogs.

"The ordinance is for the well-being of the community's animals," said Florence city spokesman Phil Stevenson. "If a dog is on a tether, they can wrap themselves around and get stuck in the sunlight or even the snow."

Stevenson said the idea is not to take dogs away from owners or raise money, but to protect the city's pets. After a warning, a fine may be assessed against violators.

The council also approved an ordinance increasing the adoption fee at the shelter from $75 to $85.

According to the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Shelter director Vinny Grosso, it costs about $70 to prepare an animal for adoption, which includes vaccinations.

A third pet ordinance failed to receive unanimous approval and will be decided during the Nov. 3 meeting. That would have allowed set allocation of funds from pet registration fees.

District 4 councilman Barry Morris wants clarification from Grosso on how, exactly, they will use the funds.

All city residents who own a dog or cat are required to pay an annual or a lifetime fee for their pets.

Morris said the council’s original intent for money generated by the registration fee was to pay for spay and neuter programs for low-income city residents, and to create a trap, neuter and release program for feral cats.

But alterations by the council’s Public Safety Committee a week ago seem to contradict the intent.

Grosso wrote that he intended to spend the money, with 50 percent to go to supplement the cost of adopting pets, 25 percent to supplement a proposed low-income spay and neuter assistance program, and 25 percent to be used for the trap, neuter and release program.

However, Grosso would not be held by council members to adhere to that spending.

City attorney Bill Musgrove said if changes in allocations were needed, then the city code would have to be amended.