VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - There has been an increase in Lowndes County court cases involving pets and animals.
Aggressive dogs throughout the county have been getting loose and attacking people, as well as other animals.
Sergeant Mike Brown said that court cases have increased up to three times the normal rate.
Brown said owners are sometimes too trusting of their these dogs and are simply not putting their pet on a leash.
"When we talk to the owner, 'Oh my dog never did that,' and they left the gate open for the dog to run loose," said Brown.
Lowndes County Public Information Officer Paige Dukes said the increase in court cases has caused judges to up the consequences for not securing your pet.
Pet owners could be fined up to $1,000 or be sent to jail.
If the animal or owner is severely injured, owners could be forced to also pay thousands of dollars in hospital and vet bills.
Dukes said they have recently had an escaped dog charge at an officer.
"Your pet has got to be under your control as the owner," said Dukes.
So, what can be done?
Dukes and Brown agree that pet owners should always lock their gate.
If the animal is of a larger size, put it on a leash.
Fix any broken fences or holes that the pet could possibly escape out of.
"The dog has to be secured because you still have kids and citizens that could potentially get injured by those dogs," said Brown.
Animal control officials said pet owners should report their pets missing right away to protect their animals and others.
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