Your Chatham County Weekly Update for September 26, 2018


Your Chatham County Weekly Update for September 26, 2018

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September 26, 2018


Hello, Chathamites. Happy Wednesday!

Your Top Story: What’s the deal with doggone dog laws?

Have questions about Chatham County? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is the first in a series of articles we’ll be doing here at Our Chatham where we take questions submitted by our readers and send our team of reporters out to get some answers. Let us know what you think of this series and our coverage here.  

Our first question is from Chatham resident Karen Etling, who asks: Is there a group working towards a dog tethering ordinance in Chatham County?

She’s concerned that the current laws aren’t doing enough to protect animals, and asked us to look into the current statues. Here is what we found.

What are the laws now?

To start, we looked up some of the laws and ordinances already in place.

Statewide, it is a misdemeanor to restrain dogs in “a maliciously cruel manner.” The only clarification the law provides is “the person imposed the restraint intentionally and with malice or bad motive.” This leaves local governments to fill in what they would consider maliciously cruel. 

On Sept. 18, 2017, the Chatham County Board Commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a new Animal Services Ordinance after extensive input from animal rights groups that we’ll detail a little further down.

The sweeping ordinance defines adequate food, shelter, treatment and tethering as well as providing guidance to pet owners when taking care of Fido. While nearby counties like Alamance and Guilford have outlawed tethering except in certain circumstances, Chatham still allows residents to tether their dogs, but under strict regulations.

Here are the highlights as they pertain to proper tethering in the county:

  • Animal Abuse and Neglect is defined as, “Keeping any animal under conditions which cause or could cause physical pain, suffering, disability or death to the animal or which increases the probability of the transmission of disease”

  • A tether is defined as, “ A rope, metal chain, coated cable, or other similar and effective humane device, with which an animal is secured to in order to restrict its movement”

  • Tethers must be at least 15 feet in length and have a swivel at each end to allow a reasonable and unobstructed range of motion.

  • All animals on a tether must wear an approved tethering collar, which is “a collar or harness constructed of nylon, leather, or similar material specifically designed to be used for a dog, cat or pot-bellied pig.”

  • Animals younger than four-months-old cannot be tethered

  • And, of course, any tether cannot prevent access to adequate food, water or shelter 

As for groups in Chatham County working towards more humane animal laws, Chatham County Lost, Found and Adoptable Pets and Chatham Animal Rescue and Education provide great resources for pet owners and advocate for the county’s four-legged friends. The North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare also keeps a database of all animal ordinances in the state.  

Nationally, PETA maintains a list of tethering/chaining laws throughout the country, and highlights Chatham’s ordinances.

Any plans to change?

Even with the recent changes in the law, some residents still want more restrictions on tethering. When we reached out to Karen Etling about her tethering curiosity, she said chaining a dog up for extended periods of time should be outright outlawed. “Dogs are companion animals, not livestock,” she said, “I’d rather see a dog humanely euthanized than live their life on a chain. It’s NO life for a dog.”

Concerned residents can reach out to any of the groups mentioned above, or reach out to the county Board of Commissioners directly here.

Have other questions about your town or your county? Ask us! Subscribe to our newsletter and ask us any questions you want someone to answer. 

Your Post-Florence Updates

Information about road conditions and flooding is constantly updated as the situation develops. Be sure you have the latest facts on Hurricane Florence’s impacts by checking the primary sources we’ve linked to below. 
  • Recovery Resources
    • For a full list of Chatham County hurricane recovery resources, including instructions on how to make insurance claims for flood damage, check this out.
  • Damage Report
    • Chatham County Emergency Management needs residents and businesses to report damage online. A team of employees from several departments will be visiting areas impacted by the hurricane to assess countywide damage, but they need residents to file their own reports to ensure no damage goes unnoticed. 
    • “We can better identify specific resources to help affected businesses and residents, such as possibly qualifying for some recovery funding. If we under-report the actual damage, it could limit the funds available to help people and businesses in the county.” –Steve Newton, director of Chatham County Emergency Management
  • Inspection Fees
    • Chatham County Permitting & Building Inspections will waive inspection fees for property damaged by Hurricane Florence. 
      • You must first complete an inspection application for the fees to be waived.
      • If the inspector determines that the damage isn’t due to Hurricane Florence, you will have to pay the inspection fee. 
  • Road Closures
    • According to the NCDOT, the following roads in Chatham Co. will be closed until further notice due to hurricane impacts:
      • Cumnock Road, on the stretch crossing the Chatham and Lee County line, is closed due to flooding. 
      • Jeremiah Drive, near Lystra Drive, is closed in both directions due to flooding.
      • Morris Road is closed between Parker Herndon Road and US 15-501 due to pipe washout.
      • NC42 is closed in both directions near Alston House Road for construction to replace the bridge over Deep River. 
      • North Plank Road, between Carbonton Road and the Chatham County line, is closed going both directions.
      • R. Jordan Road is closed near Rosser Road due to flooding and mud. 
      • Rosser Road between Taylors Chapel Road and R. Jordan Road/Everett Dowdy Road is impassable due to flooding.
      • Tody Goodwin Road between Beaver Creek Road and Olive Chapel Road is impassible due to flooding. 
  • Reopenings
    • Wren Memorial Library in Siler City will be back open for business on Wednesday, September 26 at 10 a.m.
  • Still Closed
Stay safe out there, and let us know if you have questions about local hurricane damage or recovery efforts. What can we help you investigate? Drop us a line at

2018: The State of Chatham County

On Sept. 24, the 2018 State of the County Report was released. The report covers the fiscal year 2017-18, which ended June 30, 2018. Here are the highlights:
  • Plan Chatham, a 25-year planning initiative adopted in November of 2017, is well underway. Accomplishments thus far include:
    • A complete 2018-2023 Chatham Five-Year Aging Plan to prepare for the aging population
    • The county partnered with the towns of Siler City, Pittsboro &
      Goldston to begin a Water & Wastewater Master Plan.
    • Parks & Recreation staff worked with a consultant on development
      of Comprehensive Master Plan for parks, recreation programs and
  • New Schools
    • A design was approved for Seaforth High School, a 1,400-student school expected to open in August 2021.
    • Chatham Grove Elementary, a K-5 school, will be finished in August
      2020. It will include a recreation center shared with the
      county. It also will serve as an emergency shelter.
    • Construction has begun on the Central Carolina Community College Health Sciences Building. The new facility will help meet the demand for health-related professionals. Opening late 2020, it will serve as an early voting location and the site includes land for a future county library branch.
    • Construction for the School System Central Services Building will begin in 2020. The building will house all school system administrative staff and provide meeting space. 
  • Construction Plans
    • Several other projects are in the works right now, including Briar Chapel Park, a County Government Campus, and a new Pittsboro Town Hall
  • Economic Boom
    • In 2017, about 60 new jobs were created in Chatham County. In 2018, approximately 750 jobs have been created within county lines. That’s a 1,150% increase, people. 
    • New business capital investments in 2018 are estimated at $98 million, compared to $10.5 million in 2017 — an 833% increase, and the year isn’t even over. 
  • Miscellaneous Accomplishments
    • Chatham County’s government has received over nine awards this year, from both state and national agencies. 
    • Chatham Emergency Management formed Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) to help communities better prepare for emergencies & disasters.
    • The Chatham Board of Elections has implemented an election night audit to streamline the process of ensuring that all vote totals match.
    • Solid Waste & Recycling began giving free recycling bins to residents that use the Collection Centers, with the goal of increasing the volume of recycling. Thus far, 1,000+ bins have been distributed.
    • Chatham 360 expanded its services for 16 to 17 year olds charged with misdemeanors.
      • Chatham 360’s First Offender Program, designed for individuals at least 18 years old or those with serious felonies, had 87 enrolled last year. Of these, 51 successfully graduated and had their charges dismissed. 
    • In March 2018, Social Services joined with the community college in offering an employment and training program for those receiving food and nutrition services at DSS.
    • In June 2018, the Board of Commissioners extended the Oil & Gas Development Moratorium until Jan. 31, 2019 to allow more time to develop amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.
    • The 4-H Youth Development program in Cooperative Extension expanded to eight clubs with varied focus areas, including livestock, equine, shooting sports, STEM, sewing, and home-school education.

Notable + Quotable

The Chatham Cares initiative collected disaster relief supplies from Chatham County residents and delivered them to communities in need on Monday.

Around Our County

Friends of the Chatham Community Library Fall Book Sale
 Thursday-Saturday, Sept. 27-29
      → 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday
      → 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Saturday
→ Chatham Community Library, Central Carolina Community College, 197 NC Highway 87, Pittsboro
 Different event each day. Thursday: Twenty percent off all purchases of $200 or more; Friday: All books and materials half price; Saturday: Fill grocery bags (or your own) for $5 each with no limit.

Visiting authors at McIntyre’s Books
 Saturday, Sept. 29
      → 11 a.m. – noon: Bobbie Ann Mason, author of “Patchwork: A Bobbie Ann Mason Reader.”
      → 2 – 3 p.m.: Lee Zacharias, author of “Across the Great Lake.”
→ McIntyre’s Books, Fearrington Village, 200 Market St., Pittsboro.

Hispanic Hertiage Fiesta
 Saturday, Sept. 29, 1-7 p.m. 
Downtown Siler City: 200 N. Chatham Ave.
 “Fiesta is a celebration for the whole community with live music, traditional dances, kids’ games, over 40 booths from businesses and agencies, and an art exhibit by Jose Manuel Cruz. We’ll also have a fabulous parade of traditional and quinceañera outfits and delicious food!”

The Business of Agriculture Series
 Mondays, Oct. 1-November 19, 6-8 p.m.
→ Central Carolina Community College, Pittsboro Campus, Building 42, Room 108
 This course is free, but pre-registration is required. 
 “This eight-week series will enable experienced food and farming entrepreneurs to gain the skills needed to craft a new business plan to diversify, expand, or better manage their existing operation.”

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival 
 Oct. 4-7
→ Lettuce, Donna The Buffalo, Locos Por Juana and Ryan Montbleau are set to headline the event.
 The full lineup consists of over 50 musical acts.
 Tickets are on sale now. 

Government Calendars

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Our Chatham is an experimental project produced by Reese News Lab at the UNC School of Media and Journalism. We want to provide Chatham County with a news source it deserves, but we need your help to make this newsletter the best it can be! 

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