Franklin County went to the dogs last year.
Now there are a lot of dog owners in this county, and the dog issues used to be all about simple things, creating a dog park and raising money with a Mardi Gras parade, perhaps an occasional report of a biting incident, all the result of a spectrum of dog owners who range from those intent on glorifying their furry friends to those who treat a dog no better than they would treat a dog.
This year it was about more serious subjects - firearms, dogs roaming the beaches, and who should be coughing up tax money to fund the policing of the animal population.
First thing was the county’s addressing complaints about dogs roaming the beaches, unattended, or anywhere really. They proposed a stricter leash law, before realizing they already had a leash law, it just needed to be enforced better. A dog-friendly beach does not mean a person-unfriendly beach, and a consensus grew that maybe it would be wise that even though beaches do not have curbs, it would be wise to curb your dog.
But then the humane society, the last best hope for abandoned and mistreated dogs, decided it had had enough with a county gun range, adjacent to its property, and the misbehavior of its enthusiasts, and so closed the access road, declaring it theirs to do. The county didn’t much like that fact, and decided that it would hold the check on its annual contribution to the humane society until such time it had learned its obedience lesson.
The blowback was swift, lawsuits were threatened, copacetic heads prevailed, the road was reopened, and government took it under advisement to look for another range site. The sheriff was tasked to do it, and he’s supposed to come up with something one way or another soon.
Meanwhile, in the back room where they count the money, the county decided that if it was going to add a part-time position to its animal control department, the cities ought to pay some of that cost. Carrabelle was dealing with its own animal control issues, and it went along, reluctantly, with the deal, as did Apalachicola.
It’s all going to work out, just as soon as people control their dogs on the beach, don’t let them roam wild, the cities pay only their fair share, the gunslingers get to shoot their guns, and the dogs aren’t terrified and they all find nice, loving, forever homes.
Even if it is a dog eat dog world.