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South Carolina -- Litter was the talk of the meeting when Florence County Council last convened, but breed-specific legislation could take over as the top issue when council gathers Thursday.

After last month's vote to defer a new anti-litter ordinance, council's Justice and Public Safety Committee will set up a meeting to review the new measures in light of residents' concerns, committee Chairman Waymon Mumford said.

"In the meantime, we've asked staff to do some additional follow-up," Mumford said, adding the committee likely will meet before council's next regular meeting, scheduled for April 2.

Council on Thursday is scheduled to hear from Scranton resident Ernestine Haselden, who is requesting an ordinance banning "pit bull-type dogs" from the county.

She will speak on behalf of a group of Scranton residents that "feels these dogs constitute a detriment and danger to the health, safety and welfare" of the county's citizens, according to the council's agenda.

On Feb. 2, Haselden asked Scranton town officials to consider a ban on pit bull-type dogs. Residents say they're worried about the dogs getting loose and hurting someone.

The dogs are in the corner of Gordon Williams' back yard, which adjoins the yards of two concerned residents, including Haselden.

Florence County provides animal control for Scranton, which can't afford to handle the task on its own, Mayor Pro Tem Thomas Knotts said last month.

In Florence County's municipalities, animal control officers won't enforce anything beyond the countywide regulations, Florence County Administrator Richard Starks said last month. Therefore, if a city or town passed a breed-specific ordinance, the municipality would have to enforce the regulations.

County council hasn't considered breed-specific ordinances.

After Haselden speaks, a group of students from Southside Middle School in Florence will give county council a presentation against laws that would ban certain breeds of dogs.

The students plan to propose implementing canine safety education programs in schools, offering responsible canine ownership classes to pet owners and adopting stronger laws on the city and county levels.

Linda D. Witouski, an American Kennel Club judge and delegate, also is scheduled to appear before council to discuss breed-specific legislation.

In other business, council is scheduled to hear a request by Beth Ashley Greene for an ordinance to prohibit discharging firearms within densely populated areas of the county. She is asking for an ordinance similar to one in the city of Florence, according to the meeting agenda.

Rick Walden, the county's veterans affairs officer, is scheduled to request money to fund the transportation of veterans, as well.

Council also will hold a public hearing on a new Community Facilities element, part of the county's updated comprehensive plan, which state law requires for a local government to have zoning.

The element is up for second reading. It includes museums and other venues, animal shelters, parks and recreation facilities, educational facilities, transportation, and public safety, as well as water supply and wastewater treatment.

- Morning News Staff Writer Shireese Bell contributed to this report.

IF YOU'RE GOING

WHAT: Florence County Council regular meeting, with public hearing on the updated Community Facilities Element of the county comprehensive plan

WHEN: 9 a.m. Thursday

WHERE: County council chambers, Room 803, 180 N. Irby St., Florence

INFO: Call Clerk to Council Connie Haselden at (843) 665-3035

ON THE WEB

View the draft of the new Community Facilities Element of the Florence County comprehensive plan at http://www.florenceco.org/Planning/Community_Facilities_Element-DRAFT.pdf

Council to hear arguments on breed-specific legislation | SCNow
 
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