The Camden County Health Department, many veterinarians and animal shelters are in favor of the ordinance.

A proposed ordinance under review by the Camden County Prosecuting Attorney  could, if approved, tighten up animal control issues, making it easier for the sheriff’s department to issue tickets for bad behavior. 

The Camden County Health Department, many veterinarians and animal shelters are in favor of the ordinance. Animal control has been discussed in Camden County for years.Camden County Sheriff Tony Helms said it was one of the most frequently mentioned problems when he ran for sheriff. It’s time something needs to be done, he said. Once the prosecutor reviews the ordinance, it will go to the Camden County Commission for a vote. 

Citing a lack of statewide laws governing animal control and a slew of complaints, Helms is hoping to adopt a county-wide  ordinance that would force residents to take responsibility for problems created when law enforcement have no choice but to get involved in animal complaints. 

The Camden County Animal Control officer currently handles about 1,000 calls annually. Everything from abandoned and neglected animals to situations where aggressive behavior is involved. 

Helms said residents need to understand that his department has no intentions of trying to regulate farm dogs or hunting dogs that tend to run loose. However, if a situation arises that an animal ends up in custody or is deemed a nuisance,  the ordinance will allow his department  to issue a citation and make certain the animal is chipped or wearing tags and vaccinated before being returned to the owners. 

The ordinance will require vaccinations for animals over the age of 3 months. It will also give the sheriff’s department the right to impound an animal if it is determined to be dangerous. 

The sheriff’s department periodically holds clinics to do chipping for residents. helms said his department will continue to do that as a way to help out animal owners in the county. 

“This about taking responsibility as an animal owner,” he said. “And about safety.”

Although Camden County doesn’t have a shelter, for the time being Helms said his department will work with existing shelters and animal clinics. However, Helms said that is something the county needs to consider in the near future.