SUMMERVILLE -- Controlling dogs will get a closer look by Dorchester County, but a cautious look.
The County Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to create a committee of council members, staff and residents to recommend whether to rework current animal control and noise laws into a "livability ordinance," a set of laws that regulates nuisances.
The approval came following a long silence when Chairman Larry Hargett asked for a motion on his proposal. Finally, Councilman Richard Rosebrock said he'd do it, but he and Councilman Willie Davis warned the council to tread very carefully.
Both longtime members remembered an earlier effort to license dogs that drew opposition from "the biggest crowd we've ever had," as Rosebrock said.
Hargett asked for the committee after complaints from four residents and two lawsuits in the area near Wescott Plantation subdivision, which he represents.
In both lawsuits, he said, the court told him the county's current dog nuisance laws are not enforceable.
After Councilman Jay Byars said he was concerned that the committee have representation from pro-property rights groups, Hargett agreed, saying: "This is a property rights issue. A person who buys property has a right to enjoy that property."
An ordinance would be directed at the urban areas of the lower county around Summerville, Hargett proposed.
Reach Bo Petersen at 937-5744 or follow him on Twitter at @bopete.