VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - One South Georgia county said pet owners might want to think twice about leaving their animals outdoors as the temperature begins to drop.
Lowndes County officials stated there is a spike in animal cruelty cases and want to inform pet owners on how they can stay clear of charges.
Public Information Officer Paige Dukes said that the days of just leaving animals outdoors unattended are over.
Dukes said that the magistrate court calendar is booked for the next nine weeks dealing with cases of animal cruelty.
Those cruelty charges range from leaving animals out in the cold without shelter or access to heat to not having your animal on a leash. When asked what is the most common case on the court's docket, Dukes said it is the "dog at large" charge.
That is when dogs are off their own property and wandering the streets or roaming on other people's property.
"To say that Lowndes County has a zero-tolerance attitude towards these types of cases or any type of case that jeopardizes the health, safety, and welfare of people or animals in our community is an absolute true statement," said Dukes.
Dukes added that when animal services responds to a call, they usually find more than one violation.
Lowndes County encourages any pet owners needing assistance with shelter for an animal, heating supplies and/or food needs to reach out for help, otherwise, it could land them in court, facing multiple fines, or even jail time.
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