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Thursday, 04 August 2011


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Jessica B. Hughes

I'm all for the ACOs to be part of the Sheriff's office.

An Outsider Looking In

With all due respect, unless the deputies are animal guardians at home - and/or have knowledge of the animal laws in Georgia, I disagree with the Sheriff's Office overseeing Animal Control.

There are umpteen counties in Georgia right now where the S.O. is .also AC - and trust me, it is a nightmare. Most of the deputies do not care much about handling animal calls - and that's IF you can get them to respond to them.

And God forbid, allowing untrained persons having access to euthing duties.

Mr. Paulk can wag anything he chooses to - but as long as he, and Mr. Pritchard, ignore (i.e. shushes) the actual problem(s)at the animal shelter, Lowndes Co., the taxpayers and animals, are going to suffer due to poor county management.

With respect to both of these men's titles, a grown adult man doesn't wag their finger at any other grown adult. It is childish, and nothing short of intimidation - and that is not ethical, nor acceptable, from a county "official".

An Outsider Looking In

As far as euthing - there is a way to handle the entire euthing process and the shelter staff won't have to touch one syringe on euth day.

Call around to the local Veterinarians - find one that will come out to the shelter one day a week, or more if needed - for euthing.

The shelter can pay the Vet per animal or flat rate, whatever is agreed upon.

This way, the euthing solution (poison) is stored at the Vet Clinic, and the Vet brings it with him/her on euth day - AND the Vet maintains his/her own cc inventory.

The shelter does not have to order euthing solution again, maintain inventory on it, nor do they have to do the actual injections.

The animal bodies can be picked up and transported to the county landfill, or wherever you guys take them.

Same way with spay/neuter - which is a state law that ALL animals adopted from shelters are required to be spayed/neutered.
Instead of having the new owner sign an agreement to have it spayed/neutered, the shelter can work with a local Vet (same one that euths perhaps), that when someone comes in and pays the adoption fee, a phone call is made right then to the Vet Clinic, an appointment is made for spay/neuter, and the shelter employee lets the new animal owner know what day and time they can pick up their newest furry family addition - from the Vet Clinic.

ALOT of counties handle their euthing, as well as spay/neuter - in this way. And trust me, it is less of a headache all the way around.

An Outsider Looking In

And here we are still skipping right over the most important issue - the cruelty and abuse that has allegedly taken place at the shelter.

You want to leave the person(s) that have allegedly been abusing the animals AS animal control - and then give them even more "authority" over animals in the field? And is the county going to pay the over $3k PER person it takes to have them P.O.S.T. certified?

A person, if they are abusing animals, is doing it for the same reason as domestic abusers - control and power.

You deputize an animal abuser and all you are going to do is empower a citizen/human abuser out on the street - ON the taxpayer's dime.

The alleged abuse/cruelty issue at the shelter should be addressed, and resolved - first. It's not going away - and people are not forgetting about it - I know I'm not. And won't - until it has been addressed - and resolved. All of this "sssshhhhing" and wagging fingers isn't intimidating me - it's making me want to contact the State Atty General.

Susan Leavens

I know many of the veterinarians do not want anything to do with the shelter; for whatever reason. Whoever with the number of feral cats that come to the shelter each day… the vet would have to come several times a day just for them; they have no way to house feral cats. And no place to hold them for long periods (not even hours at that rate), during puppy an kitten season, sometimes 30 or more cats a day are euthanized.

I know the Humane Society offered both sheriffs the option of HS paying for P.O.S.T certification. I am quite sure the director of the shelter disagreed also with us being turned over to the Sheriff’s Office; it would have taken away from the shelter budget. I offered to pay for my own POST certification a year into my job and was denied. But when you need a warrant it is an act of congress in this town to get one when you’re not post certified and even harder to get corporation from either agency to help with anything involving warrants and animals.

I spoke to one of our judges to try to get an inspection warrant, and was told no because I was only an officer of the court "no warrants for animal control officers" The sheriff’s department is very helpful in there endeavors with us, but most have no idea of the animal ordinances of Lowndes county. A thought could also be the sheriff’s department could create a certain position as an Agriculture Deputy, I know several counties that have them and it works out rather well. Either way, I hope the issues at hand get handled first. Perhaps Lowndes County one day will be willing to get rid of the stigma of ”dog catcher" and actually have certified Humane Law Enforcement Officers.

Susan Leavens

An Outsider Looking In

Lowndes County still refers to them as "dog catchers"?

Do they call the shelter the "pound", as well?



Does it ever end, you folks need to leave those animal control officers alone, there doing a great job also, you have went from shelter personell to animal control officers, i think most of you just want to run the shelter, if they dont do it your way then its wrong, code enforcement does the same thing, city and county, there not police officers, once you post certify those guys and they are a part of the sheriffs dept. they will be working people complaints instead of dogs, thats what they will be deputies, and then after there trained, most will leave to be law enforcement, because they will get promotions and more pay, What about the gun, most deputies will either pull out a gun, or taze adog, then you people will complain about more cruelty, its not broke, so leave it alone, let those guys do there job, get enough people out there riding around then the problems will get fixed.W hy dont you humane society people hire your own cruelty investigator with that money, help those guys out like animal planet, humane society can handle all cruelty cases,then you can tell your own guy to prosecute everybody for cruelty, and chase down these guys with dogs on the back of there trucks.

An Outsider Looking In

Lifetime Citizen: I agree with your points regarding the possible issues with P.O.S.T. certifying the AC Officers.
But, as with any issue, there are always going to be problems and things that need addressing and/or tweaking.

But you have to admit - the shelter, as it has been operating, "is" broken - and does need "fixing".
When an injured dog is allowed to lay in a shelter, allegedly in a state of suffering for that long of a period of time - without any humane care being afforded, then, yes, there is a problem.

A shelter is in place to house unwanted or stray animals - and it is required, by state law, to afford those animals humane care at all times. If they are not being afforded this, at any time, then the shelter operations need to be revisited, and "fixed"

In order for any animal shelter to run as smoothly as it can, with as few issues as possible - all personnel involved have to have a professional attitude towards shelter operations.
And one of the most important priorities should be "accountability" - for all - to include Director/Manager, staff, county officials, and even the public visitors that enter in the shelter every day.
Once a link in that chain bends or breaks, you have a problem that is going to need to be addressed - or else it runs the risk of festering, which is what this situation appears to have done.

Had this just been a case of one person alleging these things, it "might" could be dismissed - but there are numerous people alleging the things that have taken place in that shelter. And the criminal justice system in Lowndes County should be allowed to work without the risk of outside parties attempting to keep things under the "Ssshhhhh" rug.

Susan Leavens

Life Time Citizen of Lowndes County,
The sheriff’s department has tazed dogs; they have also shot them... I would have to say in each situation it was warranted! You are confusing human safety with humane issues in your statement. Don’t drag Lowndes County Sheriff’s Department into issues that they have performed in the course of their duties protecting citizens of Lowndes County. I assure you each dog I have witnessed the sheriff’s department handle humanely! They have always been very careful how they handle cases that are sensitive in euthanasia and how the citizens of Lowndes County feel. No one ever wants to see a dog shot, however remember tazing is non lethal force. And before you say it’s inhumane, stand in front of a 65 to 80 lbs. vicious dog.

This isn’t about the Sheriff’s Department, this is about training… this is about safety, and issues involving warrants that cannot be obtained because the ACO’s are not post certified.

And are you referring to all two animal control officers? You are correct they are doing a wonderful job no one has said otherwise. As those two always have… there good ACO’s. And if the Valdosta Humane Society handled all cruelty cases just what would the ACO's of Lowndes County Do? Pick up dogs and cats people want to turn in? Theres more to the job than that. And I'm pretty sure the ACO's in Lowndes would disagree with what you think they should be doing.

And in reference to the “cops” on animal planet they are post certified officers, under HSUS. In case you didn’t listen to the video, post certified officer have to be under the sheriff’s department just like Chairman Paulk pointed out; and since we don’t have HSUS in Lowndes County that’s impossible.

S. Leavens


I undertand every thing your saying, the issues that you all are accusing the shelter of, like you say they are investigating those issues, but even still certification, adding the officers to the sheriffs dept. , that all cost more money, im thinking they will have to hire a lot more officers than they have now,they already need a bigger shelter, all this stuff takes time, it will not be fixed over night, all the legal issues , i agree if there are some criminal offenses they need to be fixed immediately.Your making it like im saying the sheriffs dept. is shooting dogs, i never said that, those guys have a hard enough job dealing with people around here,than worrying about dogs, but still if you certify a guy and let him have a gun,i dont care how much training you get, its easier to pull out a gun to stop a dog trying to come at you, than to just catch him, maybe the guys with experience can handle it,sometimes we have to ease into things like that, than rush, but i agree the process should start at some point.

An Outsider Looking In

Ga. state law (Ga. Animal Protection Act) defines "Animal Control Officer" as: an individual authorized by local law or (OR) by the governing authority of a county or municipality to carry out the duties imposed by this article or imposed by local ordinance.

*** In my understanding of the law, this implies that any person who is authorized, by the governing authority of the county, to carry out duties of the article - is, in fact, already considered an "animal control officer". i.e. Humane society staff, if authorized by the county authority, would be considered an "animal control officer".

Lowndes Co Animal Ordinance defines "Animal Services Officer" as: "Employee of Animal Control designated to administer and enforce the provisions and requirements contained within this ordinance."

*** Just have the county tweak their definition to include, "Employee of Animal Control, under employment and/or contract,....."
That would create the legal implication that the Humane Society would, under county authority, be authorized to act as "Animal Services Officer". State law, to my understanding, already defines it as "an individual authorized by....... governing county authority.....".

The Lowndes Co. Animal Ordinance defines "Impound or Impoundment" as: "the taking into custody of an animal by any law enforcement official, Animal Services Officer, or any authorized representative thereof."

Ga. state law (Ga. Animal Protection Act), under 4-11-9.2. Inspection warrant; impounding of animals, states:
(a) At any time there is probable cause to believe that a violation of this article or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant to this article has occurred, the Commissioner, his or her designated agent, or an animal control officer who is an employee of state or local government may apply to the appropriate court in the county in which the animal is located for an inspection warrant under the provisions of Code Section 2-2-11.

(b) Any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other peace officer shall have the authority to enforce the provisions of this article and Code Sections 16-12-4 and 16-12-37.

(c) The Commissioner, his or her designated agent, an animal control officer who is an employee of state or local government, or any sheriff, deputy sheriff, or other peace officer is authorized to impound any animal:

(1) That has not received humane care;

(2) That has been subjected to cruelty in violation of Code Section 16-12-4;

(3) That is used or intended for use in any violation of Code Section 16-12- 37; or

(4) If it is determined that a consent order or other order concerning the treatment of animals issued pursuant to this article is being violated.

(d) Prior to an animal being impounded pursuant to paragraph (1), (2), or (3) of subsection (c) of this Code section, a licensed accredited veterinarian approved by the Commissioner or a veterinarian employed by a state or federal government and approved by the Commissioner, shall, at the request of the Commissioner, his or her designee, an animal control officer, a sheriff, a deputy sheriff, or other peace officer, examine and determine the condition or treatment of the animal.

An Outsider Looking In

In reading over the Lowndes Co. Animal Ordinance, it appears to give all authority to law enforcement and/or an Animal Services Officer - for enforcing the provisions of the Animal article.

The only thing I can see that the Animal Services Officer isn't legally authorized to do is to arrest an individual.

- IF I'm reading/interpeting correctly.

An Outsider Looking In

ACK - that should read "interpReting" - before the spelling nazis come running.


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