Animal Control Code Changes Sought In Berlin

Animal Control Code Changes Sought In Berlin
Resident Gina Velong speaks to the Berlin Planning Commission Wednesday. Photo By Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN– Municipal staff are expected to review and potentially update the animal control section of Berlin’s town code in the coming weeks.

Members of the Berlin Planning Commission asked staff to review the town code as it pertains to animals following concerns shared by a resident March 8. Resident Gina Velong urged the commission to bring the code up to date.

“Why can’t we be proactive?” she said at the commission’s March meeting.

Velong approached the commission Wednesday to share concerns with the town code, which currently doesn’t even have an animal control section. Instead, it has a section labeled “Dogs” that lacks the detail included in most jurisdictions’ regulations.

“Things have changed…the idea of a pet has changed,” she said, referencing the loose potbellied pig that was spotted walking down the sidewalk on Powellton Avenue recently.


A pig walks down Powellton Avenue last month. Photo by Erin Bilenki

Velong said the town could easily adopt language similar to that recently approved by Worcester County.

“They’ve already done all the hard work,” she said.

At a minimum, she suggested the town update the code to address more than dogs and to include relevant definitions. Fines could also be explored.

“If you give someone a monetary punishment they tend not to do it again,” she said.

Commission member Pete Cosby said he’d had issues dogs in town for years.

“It’s not the dog problem it’s the people problem,” he said. “I think you make good points about tightening up the code.”

He agreed that the code could include penalties that were easier to enforce.

Velong said Berlin’s code simply wasn’t clear enough.

“Our codes are not written poorly they’re just not enough,” she said.

Cosby said dog barking was another problem in Berlin.

“It’s been a degradation of my quality of life in this town since I’ve lived here,” he said. ‘I’ve had to fight it all the way. Some people just don’t get it.”

Commission member Ron Cascio acknowledged that the code probably should be brought up to date regarding domestic animals.

“I take your point, the town is growing,” he said. “It’s not going to get any better.”

Chris Denny, chair of the commission, said he’d like the town’s attorney to weigh in on the proposed changes.

Staff agreed to work with Velong to implement some of the proposed changes and then to have the town’s attorney review the changes.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

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.