Town leaders in Fair Bluff are working to strengthen animal control ordinances to combat the problem of as many as 75 dogs roaming at large.
Kathy Howell, who lives just outside town limits, said a group of dogs showed up at her house three times.
On one occasion, the dogs damaged heating, air conditioning and plumbing systems under the house, requiring more than $2,000 in repairs, Howell said.
"There is a bit of a problem with dogs on the loose, dogs attacking other people's dogs," said Police Chief Darrell Trivett. "We had a guy mowing his grass the other day, and a guy's pit bull that wasn't on a leash tried to attack him."
Fair Bluff has dog ordinances, but Town Manager Al Leonard explained they haven't been updated in decades. Law enforcement officers don't think the language is adequate to convict offenders, he said.
A lack of resources in the small town also creates a problem. Leonard explained the town can't afford to hire a dog catcher, and only one police officer and two public works employees are on duty each weekday.
Columbus County Animal Control Director Rossie Hayes faces similar constraints.
"I'll help them anyway I can, but I just don't have the manpower to go through town and just pick up stray animals," Hayes said, explaining his department can pick up animals from a holding pen in Fair Bluff.
Fair Bluff town council is working to update the animal ordinances and will seek input during a public hearing in June, according to Leonard.
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