Winnsboro upgrades animal ordinance

WINNSBORO – Winnsboro Town Council unanimously repealed Tuesday evening its animal control ordinance and replaced it with an ordinance that mirrors the Fairfield County animal control ordinance. 

This new ordinance, among other things, prohibits animal fighting, keeping of wild animals, interfering with animal control officers, and an anti-tethering (no chaining of dogs or other animals) section. 

Kathy Faulk, President of Hoof and Paw, spoke before council and thanked them for passing the ordinance. 

“Today was a big win for the animals in the town of Winnsboro.  Hoof and Paw has encouraged council to update their animal ordinance.  It was two summers ago when I first spoke to council about updating their animal control ordinance.  Next we need to address the overpopulation of unwanted animals in our town and county by encouraging spay/neuter.  We are proud of the progress council is making,” said Faulk.

According to the ordinance, dogs over four months of age are required to have a collar bearing an identification plate which states the name, address, and phone number of the owner. Residents reclaiming their pets from the animal shelter within five days will have to pay for actual costs expended for the care and treatment of the pet. 

These costs will include inoculations, medical care, and if the pet is not spayed or neutered the procedure which will be required prior to redemption. 

In the case of dogs, there will be a cost for inserting a microchip and a daily fee as determined from time to time by the Winnsboro Animal Control Director. 

Animals left in vehicles is addressed in the new ordinance.

“In order to protect the health and safety of an animal,” the ordinance states, “any Animal Control Officer, law enforcement officer, firefighter, or rescue squad worker, who has probable cause to believe that an animal is confined in a motor vehicle under conditions that are likely to cause suffering, injury, or death to the animal due to heat, cold, lack of adequate ventilation, or under other endangering conditions, may enter the motor vehicle by any reasonable means under the circumstances after making a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person responsible for the animal”

In other town business, a proclamation was read declaring Dec. 2 as Arbor Day in the town.  Assistant Town Administrator and Zoning Director Chris Clauson said planting trees is a requirement of tree cities, which Winnsboro has been for 37 years. 

“This is the ideal season for planting trees.  We are going to plant some Crepe Myrtles at Mt. Zion near the walking trails and plant some street trees,” said Clauson. 

Under ongoing projects, water plant director Jeff Cisney updated council on the advance meter infrastructure (AMI) system being installed. 

“We are waiting on our suppliers. There was a benefit in this delay which is allowing us to comply with the lead and copper rule issued by DHEC,” Cisney said. “We may have to replace some pipes from the meter to the foundation of the owner’s house.  We have to have this done by 2024,” he said. The new meters, which will be read remotely, will be paid for with about $1.8 million dollars of the American Rescue Plan funds.

Code enforcement cameras are installed and power will be forthcoming. Clauson said the cameras will assist law enforcement and act as a crime deterrent. 

There are three vacancies on the planning commission and one vacancy on the zoning board of appeals.  Individuals interested in serving on these committees are encouraged to contact administration. 

After a drinking water warning was required to be placed in the newspaper last week, the water plant director explained that there was no actual problem with water quality in the town. 

“DHEC inspects the wastewater treatment lab and water lab and, out of 35,000 water samples tested, one test was rejected because of an expired lot number. There was never anything wrong with the water quality,” he said.  

Town Administrator Jason Taylor reported on a parks and recreation development fund (PARD) matching grant.

 “The Legislative Delegation contacted me regarding some matching grant funds.  PARD grants are funds the legislation delegation appropriates.

“The grant, which ranges between $54,000 and $78,000 will be used to pave the basketball court and some parking at Friendship Park,” Taylor said. “This is an 80-20 split with the town having to put in 20 percent.”

 Council went into executive session to discuss an economic development contractual matter and receipt of legal advice. Following executive session, Councilman Demetrius Chatman announced no action would be taken.

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