Commission Asked To Review Code

BERLIN– Elected officials agreed this week to have the Berlin Planning Commission review potential changes to the town’s animal control regulations following concerns from a resident.

The Berlin Town Council on Monday voted to ask the town’s planning commission to look into the county’s animal control regulations to see if they could potentially be implemented in Berlin. The request came after resident Gina Velong brought up the fact that Berlin’s ordinances were dated and too constricting.

“I think if we could adopt Worcester County’s language it would be a great asset to the town and a great asset to the neighbors,” Velong said.

Velong, who said she was following up on an email she sent to elected officials, told the council at the end of Monday’s meeting that she was hoping the town could consider updating its code as it related to animals. She said as written, the language was too constricting as it primarily addressed dogs. She pointed out that people did have other pets and that the town should have language in the code that addressed domestic animals beyond just dogs.

She’s reviewed ordinances from other jurisdictions and said the animal control regulations put in place by Worcester County were the best she’d seen.

“They actually have some really good animal control and shelter laws in place that I couldn’t find anywhere in our books,” she said.

Velong added that having the proper rules in place would provide police with a law to point to on the occasions there were issues.

“Right now they don’t really have a recourse,” she said.

Mayor Zack Tyndall said her concerns were worth considering.

“If our code is silent on some of those things maybe it’s worth taking a look at,” he said.

Councilman Jack Orris said it would be a good issue for the planning commission to consider and made a motion to refer the issue to the commission for review. The council voted unanimously in support.

Worcester County officials approved updated animal control laws in 2018 after urging from citizens who felt the previous regulations didn’t protect animals enough. The new regulations were designed as a way to promote animal welfare while making it easier for animal control officers to enforce the law.

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.