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August 20, 2004

Terrell County-- A mangy problem in Dawson is about to be resolved and it took a lawsuit to do it.

Terrell County quit providing animal control services last year because of budget problems and the city sued. Now, a judge has ruled that Terrell County is responsible for their canine friends.

You won't find many roaming dogs in Dawson. But, the few we found were mostly loose, "A lot of people in the community expressed some difficulty with dogs and that kept coming up, and up, and up," says Dawson City Attorney Tommy Coleman.

Coming up so much, that the city sued--saying Terrell County, under an intergovernmental contract they signed, by law, must pick up strays, "All we wanted was the original contract to be carried out as both parties intended and that was to provide an animal control service in the city of Dawson two days a week."

The county's code enforcement officer is working on a new animal control ordinance, "What I have been working on this morning is the Georgia Dog Bite Law," says Martha Ann Coe. As soon as a judge says go, she'll be pulling double duty as a dog catcher.

"There has been talk that I would be doing this and we have had a lot of calls and all I can tell them is I'm sorry we can't help you but as soon as we get it in place we will be able to do something." But, until the judge agrees to the new consent agreement, stray dogs in Dawson are free to roam.

Once the agreement is signed by a judge, stray dogs will be taken to the former kennels housed at the Terrell County Correctional Institute. The county is working on contracts with the Sumter County and Albany Humane Societies.

Posted at 4:30 p.m. by melissa.kill@walb.com