Review Sought On Animal Control Laws

SNOW HILL – Worcester County officials agreed last week to have staff look for ways to strengthen local animal control laws.

The Worcester County Commissioners voted unanimously last week to instruct the relevant county departments to look for ways to improve local animal control regulations. The vote came at the request of Commissioner Josh Nordstrom, who said he’d received numerous complaints about a particular dog breeding operation in his district.

“I’ve just seen too much tragedy out of it,” Nordstrom said. “I don’t want this to continue whether it’s in my district or anywhere else in the county.”

Nordstrom told his fellow commissioners that there was a dog breeding operation in his district that was a source of community concern. He’s received calls about dogs barking, dogs being loose and the way the animals are sheltered. He said last year, a bicyclist had an accident after being chased by one of the dogs.

“Animal Control has been out there many times,” Nordstrom said. “He’s been cited many times. I’ve been out there three times myself.”

He said that the Worcester County Sheriff’s Department and the Maryland State Police had visited the property as well.

“We are limited I think at this point as to what the laws say,” he said. “If he is meeting the bare minimum requirements there isn’t anything to force him to improve those conditions. I think we can do better.”

He said he wanted the commissioners to formally ask Worcester County Animal Control to work with other county departments, such as the state’s attorney, to find ways to give the relevant ordinances more teeth.

Commissioner Bud Church, referencing a situation in Wicomico County involving horses that weren’t properly cared for, agreed that something needed to be done.

“This is a serious problem and I think we ought to address it,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.