Record number of animal abuse cases in Decatur Co. - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Record number of animal abuse cases in Decatur Co.

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DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) -

By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

DECATUR COUNTY, GA (WALB) –Authorities in Decatur County are seeing a disturbing increase in animal cruelty cases.

We told you Wednesday about the fatal poisonings of five pure-bred German Shepherd puppies.

Someone also shot and killed a Chihuahua over the weekend.

Concerned pet owners and law enforcers say the abuse has to stop.

It began with Onni, a pit-mix whose owner put her in a makeshift collar that cut inches into her throat. Then Hank came along. He survived being shot in the face. And most recently, someone used rat poison to kill five of Victor Strickland's dogs.

"It's a shame. It's a disgrace to our community that it's going on," says a furious Strickland. "Some people are just evil, cowardly people. It shows that they have no emotion, no conscience. And I think it's a sad, sad thing."

"People look at their dogs like family. So when you hurt one of them, it's like hurting a member of their family," Decatur County Sheriff's Office Investigator Jason Williams explains. "And it's hard to look at people when their dog has been poisoned. You want to do something for them and you want to catch the people who did that to these animals."

But when it comes to catching animal abusers, it's almost always easier said than done.

"Sometimes there's no evidence," Williams explains. "It's hard to link someone to the crime unless there's a witness or something has been left around the crime scene."

Although the Decatur County Sheriff's Office has a dedicated animal control officer, they say most of their investigations begin with a complaint.

"It's important that people speak out in crimes like these because the one witness you have can't talk," Williams points out. "A lot of times a dog knows what happened and what it got into but they can't talk. They can't tell us the information we need to know."

Yet, some people remain confident investigators will find animal abusers. Strickland is one of them.

"They're an excellent group and I have full faith they're going to do everything possible to get to the bottom of this."

And they hope justice for these helpless victims will come soon.

Authorities urge you to call your local police department or Sheriff's office if you suspect animal abuse.

If you have information on any of those cases in Decatur County, call (229) 400-8007.

You could get a reward.

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