Red Bank considers new animal control ordinance with rules on dog tethering, clarity on community cats

Staff file photo / McKamey Animal Center is the animal services provider for the city of Red Bank, which is considering a new animal control ordinance developed with guidance from the nonprofit organization.

The city of Red Bank is considering a new animal control ordinance spearheaded by McKamey Animal Center, the nonprofit organization that provides the municipality's animal control services.

"They have a variety of best practices within the animal service world they wanted to implement in Red Bank," City Manager Martin Granum told commissioners at their Tuesday meeting, adding that most of the practices have already been implemented in Chattanooga, which also contracts with McKamey for animal services.

The 40-page ordinance implements various best practices in animal control, including prohibiting tethering dogs outdoors between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. and defining what it means to provide access to an adequate amount of water for an outdoor pet.

The ordinance also clarifies the difference between a community cat and a feral cat, which is defined by the degree of socialization to people, Granum said.

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It also prohibits riding a mule on a city sidewalk, Commissioner Pete Phillips said.

Vice Mayor Stefanie Dalton asked if McKamey relies on neighbors to report ordinance violations, or if its officers patrol the city looking for violations.

"Typically it's not proactive on their part," Granum said. "It's like an animal version of our own code enforcement, where they have the authority to be proactive, but it's just based on workload."

Most animal owners are good owners, and problems are usually identified by a barking dog or a neighbor complaint, he said.

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Resident Anne Wheeler asked commissioners if the city had the option to outsource its animal services to a provider other than McKamey.

"I do know that there have been folks who've had complaints called in on them," Wheeler said, adding that someone other than herself called McKamey to complain of barking dogs multiple times and she was unsatisfied with the response. "I'm not sure that I'm clear on, and in favor of McKamey. Investigate, please."

Granum said the animal control ordinance is separate from McKamey's contract with the city, which was not being voted upon.

(READ MORE: Chattanooga's McKamey Animal Center drops breed labels for dogs in its care)

"That is absolutely up for board action periodically," Granum said of the city's contract with McKamey. "It is true there are complaints from time to time about McKamey's service delivery, and my satisfaction has been -- I call the director, and she jumps on it. Ms. Wheeler's observations are spot on. Sometimes ... there aren't happy people at the end of the exchange."

The animal control ordinance passed unanimously on first reading, and the final vote will be at the next commission meeting at 6 p.m. April 18.

Contact Emily Crisman at or 423-757-6508.