Hart Co has never in its 160 years had a law on the books regarding homeless pets, even though GA law requires the county to have some sort of animal control in place. This month, county commissioners plan to discuss enacting an AC ordinance. But if you are excited at the prospect of Hart Co implementing a CAPA type law to protect the lives of the community’s dogs and cats, you need to reign in your hope-and-change horses right now.
These are the areas of concern for Hart Co:
- Zero tolerance for “the dumping of animals.”
- A simple method to determine which loose animals are strays.
- Hiring an ACO to pick up stray dogs and cats.
People who abandon their pets in Hart Co are quite possibly doing so because the county has no shelter. Commissioners don’t plan to build one either which frankly, is just as well unless they are willing to commit to no kill. By not providing a safe haven for stray and unwanted pets, Hart Co is driving people to less desirable alternatives. The new ordinance won’t change this.
The county’s idea of determining which loose pets are strays is ridiculous:
[County administrator Jon] Caime said if approved by the county commission, the county will require all dog owners to put a collar with a nametag on each of their pets.
“You can get these (tags) at Wal-Mart and PetSmart,” Caime said. “It will have the owner’s name and phone number on it. That way, the sheriff can identify which animals belong to someone and which are strays. Then if he finds an dog that doesn’t have a proper nametag on it, it will be considered an abandoned or stray animal, and he can do something legally in that regard.”
But what if your cat or dog loses his collar? What if you can’t afford a collar and personalized nametag (or replacements) for your pets? What if your cat or dog is unable to wear a collar and nametag for medical reasons (such as a neck injury) or safety concerns?
And Hart County’s plan for hiring an ACO is just as dumb:
In terms of an animal control officer, the county likely will hire a part-time person who will work only when the Northeast Georgia Animal Shelter in Lavonia is open, so animals can be taken directly there, Caime said.
Problem not solved. Hart Co will only offer services when the Northeast GA facility is open which is from 11am to 4 pm, Tuesday – Saturday. And that place kills animals so again, no safe haven for people who have pets needing to be rehomed or who find strays or who want to help a lost, stray, feral or injured dog or cat.
As far as I can tell, Hart County’s plan will simply route additional pets, stray and owned, to a place that states on it website that it kills dogs and cats deemed sick, injured, feral or wild. It will do precious little to discourage people from abandoning pets in need in the county.
I would ask the commissioners this: Have you ever considered that the reason people are abandoning dogs and cats in Hart Co is because there is no pet killing facility there? Most people don’t want to see homeless pets killed. They want to see them truly sheltered until they can be adopted, fostered or rescued. The answer to Hart County’s stray animal issue may be the building of a no kill shelter and the legal protections to support it, in the form of a CAPA type law. Just a suggestion.
But if we look at Hart County’s track record on dealing with the issue of animal control, it looks like the end result of all the talk is typically nada:
“Every time this subject has been brought up over the past eight years, they get overwhelmed with all the different components,” Caime said about the county commission response to the topic of stray animals. “It just seems to them that there’s too much to be done, so they just table it.”
Doing your job. It’s just too hard.