Kinston City Council passes new ordinance for dog shelters

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KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – It is considered a win for pet owners in Kinston. The city council approved a new and improved ordinance Tuesday night.

The new mandate expounds on the definition of adequate shelter for pets. The move comes on the heels of Lenoir County’s adopted ordinance.

The new ordinance has specifics which states:

Each enclosure/structure must be constructed with at least four sides, a roof, and a solid floor that provides adequate protection from the elements; heat, cold, wind, rain and frozen precipitation. The shelters must have a water-resistant roof made of wood and dry bedding such as hay, straw, wood shavings or cloth and be replaced periodically.

In the past, the code of ordinance stated the following:

A proper shelter must contain a nonmetallic structure to provide protection of animals from the sun, wind, rain, and cold. Structures could consist of three walls, a top and a floor to provide protection from the elements. 

It’s a protection many SPCA advocates agree with including Jerry Henderson, president of the S.P.C.A.

“This ordinance really gives law enforcement the guidance they need to enforce this law and keep the animals safe and sound,” said Henderson.

For Henderson and supporters, the decision impacts the Kinston Police Department and pet owners.

“I was pleased that the Chief of Police stepped to the podium and made a pitch to adopt a new animal ordinance which defines what adequate shelter is,” said Henderson. “We want to try and look for what is the best for the animal, best for the community and for our police department.”

Kinston’s Police Chief Alonzo Jaynes brought the topic to the council’s attention after several Facebook photos were shared with the community.

The Chief said the definitions of proper shelters, tethered and restraint restrictions needed to be changed in order for his department to approach pet-related calls.

“It (the ordinance) was pretty broad so we really wanted to give clarity so that our animal control officer will have clear guidance on when to take enforcement action and when to not,” said Chief Jaynes.

Chief Jaynes said having an open dialogue with the community is a win-win for all parties involved.

“Knowing that we are doing everything that we can to make certain that the dogs are not enduring severe weather conditions is important.’

While the new guidelines won’t begin until March 1st, council leaders will work to clarify the proper guidelines for tethering.

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