Beware of dog … leash law.
That’s the message the Brookhaven City Council wants people who give their dogs free rein in city parks and neighborhoods to know.
The City Council voted unanimously Oct. 11 to revise its animal ordinance to clear up confusion about which agency can cite people for animal control violations, such as allowing a dog to run loose in a park. The revised ordinance makes it clear that Brookhaven police officers as well as DeKalb County Animal Services officers can do so within the city limits.
“We were having questions raised about the county writing citations in the city and this revision clears that up by making it clear that city and county officers can write citations,” City Attorney Chris Balch said.
The city’s revised animal ordinance gives shared jurisdiction to the county and city, Balch said.
City Councilmember Linley Jones praised the revised ordinance, saying it should clear up ongoing confusion about enforcement.
“We want people to know we now have and enforceable leash law on the books,” she said.
The city adopted DeKalb County’s leash law in 2013 shortly after it became a city.
The amendment is intended to clarify jurisdictional questions and resolve disputes between the city’s police department and the DeKalb County Animal Services over enforcement, Balch added.
“I’m very glad we are finally passing a strong and effective animal control ordinance,” Jones said. “It greatly concerned me that we did not have an enforceable leash law in the city.”
Jones, a trial attorney who has represented victims of dog attacks, said the city’s ordinance will now also allow victims of dog attacks to sue for civil liability. She said the leash law also puts the city on par with surrounding cities, including Atlanta.
The revised ordinance also states county and city officers can cite people for animal abuse, allowing dogs to run free on streets, and if a dog attacks another dog or person.
City fines for code violations, including the animal ordinance, can be up to $1,000.