Thomas Co. works to prevent animal cruelty -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Thomas Co. works to prevent animal cruelty

One south Georgia county's animal control division is trying to put a stop to an increase in animal cruelty cases.

Thomas County Animal Control handled more then 1,100 cases last year, up more than 200 from the previous year.

But officers hope a community event could help curb those numbers.

Malnourished horses, tethered dogs, and even cock-fighting.

Animal Control officials say an animal cruelty case could be right under your nose.

"They're defenseless. They don't have a voice to say and to call somebody and to holler out. It's up to us who really want to do something to try to put an end to it," said Director Pat Smith.

Whether it's because of the economy, environment, or other factors, cruelty and neglect cases are on the rise.

Animal control director Pat Smith says in many of these cases, it's not only the animals who are being abused.

"A lot of times when an animal is being abused, someone in the family is being abused. That's something that when we go into the schools, we let the children know that it's ok to tell somebody if they see an animal being abused, or if they're being abused."

Smith is hosting a community forum this week to inform the public about animal abuse, and brainstorm ways to prevent it.

"Whether it's through education. Whether it's through rewards. Whether it's getting the school kids involved with essays, poster contests, we're just wanting the community to be aware."

Smith says at the forum she will show graphic images from recent cases. "You can tell somebody in so many words that this dog was tethered and it's really skinny with the ribs showing, but until you actually see a picture, you don't realize the extent of the cruelty."

Representatives from the Halcyon Home for battered women will also speak at the forum about the connections between domestic and animal abuse.

The forum begins at 6:30 Thursday evening at the Emergency Services Center in Thomasville.


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