The Camden County Animal Control officer currently handles about 1,000 calls annually.

An effort to implement some type of animal control ordinance in Camden County to curb the number of dog and cat complaints is moving forward. The Camden County Commission will be holding a public hearing on May 22, at 11:00 a.m. at the courthouse to discuss the ordinance and get public input. A copy of the proposed ordinance can be obtained from the county or viewed online on the county’s website at  

The proposed ordinance would tighten up animal control issues, making it easier for the sheriff’s department to issue citations to those who don’t comply. 

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.  The proposed ordinance requires vaccinations for dogs and cats over the age of 3 months and any over the age of 9 months will be required to be tagged.

It will also give the sheriff’s department the right to impound an animal if it is deemed 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. 

 Helms said 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 Camden County Health Department, many veterinarians and animal shelters are in favor of the ordinance. Animal control problems have been discussed for years. 

“Given the semi-rural nature of Camden County, there are difficulties.  It’s clearly a problem that needs to be addressed,” Associate Commissioner Don Williams said. “However, anything that impacts the entire county needs to work for every everyone, from the subdivisions in Sunrise Beach and Horseshoe Bend to the farms of Macks Creek, Montreal and Stoutland. There are different needs and different expectations in various areas and that’s where the difficulties lie.”

Citing a lack of statewide laws governing animal control and frequent complaints,, county officials are hoping adopting a county-wide ordinance will force residents to take responsibility.

Although Camden County doesn’t have a shelter, Helms said his department will work with existing shelters and animal clinics to house animals the county is forced to pick up.