County officials will be taking another look at a countywide animal control ordinance to see if federal regulations are better suited to local needs.
Putnam County Commissioners considered a local ordinance this week that followed state animal welfare laws. But veteran exotic animal owner Ty Sutherlin told Gene Beck, Kristina Warren and Jim Baird that federal law would work better, in part because of the type of animals it covers.
The federal regulations cover chimpanzees, buffalo and elk, two animals which are known to be held in captivity in Putnam County. State law covers animals such as polar bears and Canadian lynx, but not chimps, buffalo and elk, Sutherlin said.
County attorney Scott Hoff agreed the state follows a different code, and state enforcement of it is not diligent.
The reason the county is setting up its own ordinance, Hoff said, is to have the authority to take care of any animals that become a problem. Most recently, the county has dealt with a privately owned cougar whose owner did not hold state or federal permits for the animal.
"We want the sheriff's department to have the authority to go do what needs to be done to protect the public," he said.
The commissioners agreed to get a copy of the federal code for review, and to revisit the issue at their June 18 meeting.
Meanwhile, the commissioners gave tentative approval to a consultant contract with Advanced Communication Design and Consulting to plan the relocation of the county's 911 emergency system to a new emergency command center to be constructed near the county highway garage.
The contract is not to exceed $32,000. The consultant will help design the specifications for the new radio tower, and engineer the radio system for public safety.