Knowing animal control laws could save your pet - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Knowing animal control laws could save your pet

By  Stephanie Springer  - bio | email

SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) –If you are a pet owner, you have a responsibility to know the animal control laws and those laws vary depending on where you live.

In Worth County, the animal control officer says most people claim not to know the rules, but knowing them could mean the difference between life and death for your pet.

Animal Control Officer Marilynn Mims says every week she picks up between 10 and 12 animals. Unfortunately, very few of those dogs get reclaimed by their owners. She says 70 percent of those dogs have to be put down. If you don't want your dog to get picked up, there are some rules you need to know.

Most people would classify these puppies as sweet and cute. But according to Georgia law, these puppies are classified as vicious, all because they were caught attacking chickens. "The vicious dogs are the dogs that chase people, act aggressive, go after livestock," said Mims.

If a dog bites a person, it's classified as potentially dangerous. "The second bite he goes to a dangerous dog and the owner can be charged with a felony," said Mims.

And in Worth County when a dog is classified, the owner will go through a process where they will receive a certified letter and have a deadline to meet when it comes to confining their dog in a secure location. "We give everybody ample opportunity to retrieve their pets," said Mims.

Animal control officer Marilynn Mims says she is only allowed to respond to complaints most of which deal with stray dogs. "Dogs like this we feel good about doing an agency transfer so we can get these dogs a home," said Mims.

And according to the county ordinance, Mims is only required to hold those dogs for three days before euthanizing them. "I've held some dogs three to four weeks hoping that their owner will call me," said Mims.

In Worth County, your dog does not have to be on a leash but it must be maintained on your property at all times. "If your dog is off your properly, even if it has a tag on we have every right to remove the animal," said Mims.

Mims says if a dog acts extremely aggressively the animal control officer has the right to euthanize the animal. "If I can find the owner and talk to the owner we go through the deeming process instead," she said.

Mims says the main goal, is to get these pets back home.

If an animal is picked up by animal control and acts sick or shows sign of a disease by law the animal control officer is authorized to euthanize that animal. Same goes if a dog has been hit by a car.

Any dog who has bitten someone and the owner cannot be located will be euthanized and tested for rabies.

If your dog is missing, you should immediately contact animal control or the animal shelter in your county.

To view a list of ordinances by city click here

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