Colquitt County Animal control sees spike in dog bites
A Rottweiler and a pit bull sitting in an enclosed cage at the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society are just a few of the dogs accused of biting someone
Dan Flowers, Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society Director
Lt. Randy Stevens, Colquitt County Sheriff's Office
MOULTRIE, GA (WALB) -
Colquitt County animal control officers have reported a recent spike in dog bites. They hope a decision by county leaders will reduce the number and make owners more responsible.
Commissioners unanimously approved setting up an appeals board to help animal control enforce the state's dangerous dog laws enacted in 2012.
The dogs enclosed in the back of the Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society, behind warning signs and orange road cones, aren't like the center's other dogs. "We've been having a lot of problems with vicious dogs in our area, and a lot of bite cases," said Don Flowers, Moultrie-Colquitt County Humane Society Director.
Don Flowers said the Rottweiler and a pit bull enclosed in the center are part of the recent trend. "In the last month, we've probably had 12-15 bite cases," he said.
He said not all the cases were severe, but one sticks out above the others. "One individual had probably an 8 inch section of skin on his arm town away," said Flowers.
Tuesday, Colquitt County Commissioners formed an appeals board to allow owners to defend an animal accused of biting someone.
"If the dog is classified as a vicious animal, they're gonna have to have insurance on the dog. They're gonna have to keep the dog fenced in, they'll have to have the dogs tagged, shots. It's going to get very expensive," said Lt. Randy Stevens, Colquitt County Sheriff's Office.
Leaders said the process will expedite penalties against owners and animals. "When you start hitting somebody's pocket book, they tend to start listening," said Stevens.
Deputies say requiring $50,000 liability insurance policies against dogs that bite, fully enclosed dog pens, and proper registration may improve public safety.
"We have a lot of dogs running loose and we need to control these," said Flowers. "And maybe this is one way we can help." He hopes enforcing regulations will make owners more responsible with their pets, and prevent future injuries.
Deputies said owners who don't follow regulations after a dog is deemed dangerous could face one year in jail and a $1,000. Dogs are impounded for 10 days after a bite to ensure they're not sick. Those causing serious injuries more than once could be euthanized.