"If a dog will not come to you after he has looked you in the face, you ought to go home and examine your conscience."
~ Woodrow Wilson

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this guy is fantastic! what a thorough, precise, clear, all-around great commentary by this guy (a Commissioner!) on the truth about tethering and the misleading arguments put forth by those who seek to arbitrarily outlaw it.

On the anti-tethering issue in Forsyth County
by Patrick Bell, Forsyth County Commissioner
May 13, 2009

I realize the anti-tethering issue is contentious and can be full of emotion. I'm an animal lover and owner and have great disdain for anyone that mistreats animals.

As Commissioners we face a difficult task as we look at the proposed amendments regarding tethering.

While I support public input and the public hearings, the fact is I am not in favor of increased government control of day to day decisions.

Our founding fathers never intended we go this far into the day-to-day decisions of our citizens.

An animal trainer wrote me an e-mail and made a comment that really hit home: "Not all dogs that are tethered on a regular basis are being abused or neglected.

It is the abuse and the neglect that should be targeted, not the tether." This simple statement that made so much sense.

I do have much concern about dogs being mistreated by being tethered for unreasonable amounts of time.

Reality is there are many animals that are mistreated, abused and neglected and it's not just dogs and not just by tethering.

I believe it wise to address this issue by considering revised or strengthened animal abuse and mistreatment ordinances versus specific amendments that are reportable by your neighbors complaint, hard to enforce and appear to be subjective in nature.

Additionally, the issue needs to be addressed by taking into account that we live in a very unique county and have a mix of rural and suburban citizens.

Some people have dogs as members of the family and some have working dogs, such as hunting and neither has less concern for their animal.

In all candor, Forsyth County is not ready for narrow ordinances, we have too many different types of people.

I so much appreciate the people that brought this to the surface and I know their hearts are in the right place.

The best step right now is to take a step back and consideration should be given to ordinances that address animal abuse, neglect and mistreatment as whole and not just piece-mealed amendments.

If we can ever get to the point where we can address the real root of the problem, and include concerns from all sides, we could create an ordinance that truly reflects our citizens and our county.

This may not be a popular stance with some groups but it is an open-minded viewpoint that takes into account our county; not Fulton, Gwinnett or Hall and how they have or have not addressed issues. I want to set example, not follow it.

To me that would be showing real leadership and that's what our citizens expect and deserve.