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Wednesday, 27 July 2011


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Jane Osborn

And I continue to ask, since my email of a couple of months ago to the Sheriff never received an answer, where is law enforcement when there clearly are illegal acts of animal cruelty occurring here? We made a big deal (appropriately) several years ago about a dog that was intentionally set on fire by local people, but these violations are all the more difficult to understand since they appear to be happening at the hands of the very people sworn to protect our county's animals.

Susan Leavens

Ms. Jane Osborn,
I believe this was not meant to make the public’s attention. When I was told to write statements I was told that these people were going to be prosecuted. Several months went by and this remained silent, I waited for the county board memebers to to do the right thing. What happened was the infamous memo; which indicated we were not allowed to contact any law enforcement agency about crimes or we would be held accountable for discrediting a county employee. And it would be considered as an attack against a county employee. Whoever if we contacted our county manager it would be handled (I’m not quite sure how many times he needed to be contacted about the issues at the shelter). As I clearly remember in the first meeting he had at the shelter many years ago… Joe Prichard said “I’ll fire everyone except Linda Patelski, Kay Jones and Michelle Shultz” so I’m a little confused, the memo we got on September 22, 2010 said we wouldn’t be retaliated against if we followed the chain of command (so does it mean if we report crimes to law enforcement we will be retaliated against?) Clearly so, I assure you. The issues need to be resolved.
Susan Leavens

An Outsider Looking In

Instead of giving a politician the keys to the city, it might be better to change the locks. ~Doug Larson

Susan Leavens

I guess this answered my question,
What is the legal definition of animal cruelty in Georgia?
a. Cruelty to Animals (misdemeanor charge): A person commits the offense of cruelty to animals when he/she causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect. O.C.G.A. §16-12-4
§Willful neglect means the intentional withholding of food and water required by an animal to prevent starvation or dehydration. O.C.G.A. §16-12-4
§Adequate food and water means food and water that is sufficient in an amount and appropriate for the particular type of animal to prevent starvation, dehydration, or a significant risk to the animal's health from a lack of food or water. O.C.G.A. §§4-11-2, 4-13-2
§Humane care of animals means, but is not limited to, the provision of adequate heat, ventilation, sanitary shelter, and wholesome and adequate food and water, consistent with the normal requirements and feeding habits of the animal's size, species, and breed. O.C.G.A. §§4-11-2, 4-13-2
b. Aggravated Cruelty to Animals (felony charge): A person commits the offense of aggravated cruelty to animals when he or she knowingly and maliciously causes death or physical harm to an animal by rendering a part of such animal's body useless or by seriously disfiguring such animal… [paraphrased] except for conduct otherwise permitted under state or federal law. O.C.G.A. §16-12-4
Local law enforcement (municipal or county police department or county sheriff's department) enforces the criminal provisions of Cruelty to Animals, O.C.G.A. §16-12-4. An animal control officer is an individual authorized by local law or by the governing authority of a county or municipality to carry out the duties imposed by local ordinance and certain articles contained within the Georgia Animal Protection Act, O.C.G.A. §4-11-2
How do I report an abused or neglected animal?
In order to effectively report an alleged animal cruelty incident, you should be able to provide the following information to the local Animal Control or Sheriffs Department.
Witness: The name, address and telephone number of the person who witnessed the alleged incident. Such information may be kept confidential, depending on the particular agency; however, it is helpful for investigators to have a point of contact in the event of misdirection or miscommunication. Remember, the burden of proof falls upon the accuser.
Who: An accurate identity of the alleged perpetrator, if known, including name, address and telephone number, if possible and known associates or co-participants in the alleged criminal activity.
What and How: An accurate and exact description of the incident witnessed. The investigator must receive sufficient details and be able to verify substantial portions of the information as true before being used to establish probable cause. Document complete descriptions of the animals and associated conditions and include:
Pertinent conversations with the alleged perpetrator;
Eyewitness accounts to reconstruct the exact happenings of what and how the incident occurred (written notes and PHOTOGRAPHS are very valuable - a picture is worth a thousand words);
Written documents or reports that verify conditions (i.e., veterinary examination findings);
When: The date(s) and time(s) of the incident(s)
Where: The specific location where the incident was witnessed (physical address and city, community, or county), including directions.
Who do I call to report an alleged animal cruelty incident?
Please refer to the following lists to report animal cruelty or humane care violations against different species:
For Companion Animals (e.g., dogs, cats, exotic birds, pet rabbits, pot–bellied pigs)
• Report those persons holding an Animal Protection License issued by the Georgia Department of Agriculture (or those that should be licensed) to the Animal Protection Section at 1-800-282-5852, ext. 4914 or 404-656-4914, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.(Well I guess there is protection if your licensed through the GDA, how interesting they treat the public differently than those they license)
• Report all other persons to the local law enforcement agency and the animal control office, (There is no doubt the general public is treated differently) if one exists in the area; Report to the municipal or county police department or county sheriff's department using the non-emergency number, unless the alleged perpetrator is actively involved in an act that threatens an animal's life. If you suspect that other crimes (e.g., illegal drug activity or gambling) are involved, be sure to report this as a part of the call.
For Equine (e.g., horses, mules, donkeys, zebras)
• Report to the Georgia Department of Agriculture Equine Health Section at 1-800-282-5852, ext. 3713 or 404-656-3713, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. or to the local law enforcement agency and the animal control office, if one exists in the area.
For other Livestock (e.g., cattle, swine, goats, sheep, poultry, llamas)
• Report to the Georgia Department of Agriculture Livestock Poultry Field Forces at 1-800-282-5852, ext. 3665 or 404-656-3665, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
• Report to your local municipal or county police department or county sheriff's department.
For Captive Wildlife or Exotic Animals (e.g., whitetail deer, raptors, large cats)
Report to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division at 770-761-3044, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They license individuals and companies engaged in the exhibition of wildlife and exotic animals (not normally domesticated) and enforces the Standards for Humane Handling and Care, O.C.G.A. §27-5-6. For more information, visit the Department of Natural Resources website.
For Circus or Zoo Animals (e.g., elephants, primates, big cats, circus dogs)
Report to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Animal Care, Regional Office, Raleigh, N.C. at 919-716-5532, Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They license animal dealers (pet wholesalers, animal brokers, laboratory animal breeders and dealers, exotic and wild animal dealers), animal transporters (commercial airlines), animal exhibitors (circuses, zoos, promotional animal exhibits), and research facilities. They enforce the federal Animal Welfare Act and the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 9, Chapter 1, Subchapter A. For more information, visit the USDA website
Susan Leavens

An Outsider Looking In

Susan, that information you posted above is correct - with the exception of who to contact to report allegations of neglect and/or cruelty involving companion animals.

That information appears to be from the Ga. Dept of Agriculture Animal Protection Division's website - and that part is not accurate.

Neglect and cruelty are criminal offenses in Georgia. The Ga. Ag. Animal Protection Division is a state REGULATORY office - they are not a law enforcement office nor criminal investigative agency. They can't arrest people nor file criminal charges against licensees or unlicensed persons.

Animal cruelty and neglect allegations should be reported to the local county law enforcement or county Animal Control for criminal investigation, and/or the filing of criminal charges.

Susan Leavens

Outsider Looking In,
When I came across that document and I read that part of it where it said to call GDA Animal Protection it made me feel really angry. So I'm looking at that like this:
Georgia Department of Agriculture Animal Protection Division protects only those with Licenses all others “General Public” GDA Animal Protection wants it turned over to law enforcement. That is disturbing to say the least! And I think that clearly says if you have a license with them…you can beat, kick, punch, gut, inject, slap, punch any companion animal which is licensed by GDA, here is the kicker AND GET AWAY WITH IT. Thats just wonderful...discusting to say the least.
Susan Leavens

Not from around here thank GOD

Dear MS Susan,

First of all I want to say my head hurts!! It was very painful for me to read this article! Not because of the allegations you post but because you have so blatantly pointed out how easy it is to ignore spell check and grammatical corrections! I have to admit I came across this site purely on accident and I am sorry for that. That being said I question the basis for your allegations. While you post founded concerns about animal cruelty in society today I have yet to find any proof? You seem to point out so many misconducts yet when investigated none hold true. This only leads one to question the validity of the accuser. And I'm sure you will try to respond in a defensive manner as in your mind I'm sure you know it all. All I beg of you is to utilize spell and grammar check. It will save us all a HUGE HEADACHE!!

Susan Leavens

Well everyone has their own opinion and that’s what the blog is about. I will take into consideration your advice and use spell check; thank you for pointing out my spelling and grammar errors because that is very important these days...
Susan Leavens

An Outsider Looking In

"Not from around here, thank God":

I question the basis of your critical remarks -

How can you be critical of Ms.Leavens for her spelling and grammar - when your post lacks any sort of punctuation. (i.e. commas where there should be commas, etc)

Appparently it was legible enough for you to comprehend - not everyone is a good speller - or competent in "puntuation", my friend.

Just in case you were not aware, a "county manager" and/or "county commissioner" are not authorized to "investigate" allegations of a criminal nature. They can give their "opinion" til the cows come home - just like I can give my opinion. But what I think, or what a county management employee thinks, doesn't mean one single thing when/where criminal allegations are present.

As far as I know, the allegations have not been "investigated" by an authorized, and certified, criminal law enforcement office.

And, finally, your comment falls under "irrelevant", as it appears to lack (any) factual information,(except possibly your claim of having a headache) as well as appearing to be posted purely for deflecting purposes.

Now - go on and spell check my comment - and be sure to check for proper periods, commas and quotation marks - because I know *you* will surely find one, or two. Why? Because I'm human - just as Ms. Leavens, and you, are.

Jessica B. Hughes

Seriously? You're questioning someone's credibility over their grammar? And, if you've read anything about our current issue, you'd find that prior investigations have found wrongdoing. Take an aspirin for your headache, and lay down before you hurt yourself.

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