MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon City Council is scheduled to vote soon on an ordinance that would require dog and cat owners to have their pets spayed and neutered.
The council's public safety committee approved the animal ordinance with three votes in favor and two votes against it.
An emotional and at times a heated debate erupted between Macon City Council and citizens, during Monday's city council meeting.
Some yelled, others shouted, but most just applauded as their views were given to the Macon City Council Public Safety Committee.
The mandatory spaying and neutering ordinance was the only item on the city council's agenda.
Once the smoke cleared, the public safety committee voted 3 to 2 in favor of amending the city's ordinance to provide mandatory spaying and neutering.
One after the other residents told the public safety committee how they wanted them to vote and why.
Regenia Brabham works with Critical Care for Animals Angels in Macon. She waved photos each of injured animals. She says the city is a large number of stray animals.
"I get so many dogs out of Harrison Road Walmart parking lot, puppies and dogs," said Brabham.
But, it was a third year Mercer University law student that told the committee there were significant factors that needed to be considered when they voting on the pet ordinance.
Kathryn Ferris says she is an animal advocate.
"So basically it comes down to public safety issue, financial impact on tax paying members in this city and also the treatment of animals," said Ferris.
Rabbi Larry Schlesinger is a Macon City Councilman and a member of the public safety committee. Schlesinger said he voted in favor of the ordinance because something needed to be done immediately.
."What we're doing right now is putting down four to five thousand stray animals a year," he said. "I've actually seen the euthanization of these animals. It is going to break your heart what we are doing now is not working. I know if we don't do anything nothing's going to change."
Macon Councilwoman, Nancy White introduced the amendment animal ordinance and said winning the committee's approval was gratifying.
"The community came out to speak in support of it," said White. "The opposition actually supported the fact that we need to do something. They did not want a mandatory law on the books, but they agreed we have an issue that has to be addressed."
Councilman Henry Gibson opposed the amendment to the animal ordinance. Gibson says there are enough ordinances already in place, but they are not being enforced.
However, he says he is very concerned about what is going with the council.
"I haven't figured out yet why three months before there will be no more city of Macon. There will be no more city council and everybody is trying to pass an ordinance," said Gibson. "Here we are dealing with animal control and we have no jurisdiction over animal control."