Crazy Town, Georgia in the News Again

Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.
Screengrab from the Toys R Us website.

Toccoa, Georgia – Remember late last year when a high school teacher in Stephens Co brought two cats to class and had students hold them down while he neutered them?  The community rallied behind the teacher’s actions and the pound director seemed very apologetic about doing his job with regard to issuing a summons for two misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.  The message was clear:  Toccoa is the place to play vet and get away with it, if you feel so inclined.

Another Stephens Co resident apparently felt so inclined and reportedly performed a do-it-yourself castration on her dog this month. Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley met with a judge and determined no criminal charges would be brought because the owner’s employment history includes work in the medical field. She reportedly made some effort to reduce the pain experienced by the dog as well as to minimize risk of infection. The article doesn’t provide any specifics but maybe she gave the dog an aspirin and washed her hands before cutting the dog open, I don’t know. The sheriff also found:

There is no direct evidence supporting the dog felt any particular level of pain during or after the procedure.

Translation: dogs can’t talk and cutting out testicles isn’t painful, probably.

But don’t try this at home:

However, Shirley says that while there may not be enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case, he would like to remind everyone that this is not a procedure that just anyone should undertake.

Right. You should at least be a file clerk in a hospital or something. Then just strap your pets down and start cutting because it’s anything goes in Stephens Co I guess.

There is no mention of local animal control being involved in this investigation.  Maybe they’ve given up any pretense of doing their jobs.  And like the cat case, there is no mention of rabies vaccination and whether the state’s rabies law has been violated by these Vet for a Day yahoos.

How long before the dangerous precedent that has been set by local authorities results in someone attempting an at-home spay on some poor pet?  Why isn’t AC acting as the voice of reason here and working to protect pets from harm in Stephens Co?  Where is the area veterinary association to condemn these failures in the strongest possible terms and explain why pets should never be castrated by people who haven’t been to vet school?

(Thank you Teresa for sending me this story.)

47 thoughts on “Crazy Town, Georgia in the News Again

  1. The shelter staff and animal control officer want charges brought in both cases but our sheriff’s dept and county commisioners refuse to press any charges or to let the animal control officer issue citations and now are trying to get the animal control officer fired by taking away funds from our animal shelter this is political hipocracy at its finest!!



  2. First of all they stripped the animal control of his ability to cite the person because he had the audacity to cite the teacher. Then he tried to get the sheriff to do so and they refused. The county marshal wanted to but was prevented from doing so by the commissioners. Animal control has proof that the woman castrated the dog that bit her child but not the other dog. She gave it a Percocet (she works in medical field). It spent three days at a veterinary office after animal control was called by husband and daughter. Animal control has statement by vet that the dog felt great pain. Then the sheriff “investigated”, it took one day and he did not get all of the animals control’s report. The animal control was told they had to give the dog back to the owner because there were no pending citations and then the sheriff said that since they gave it back they must not have considered the owners cruel or a threat. None of this would have gone down this way if not for the teacher and the authorities fear of his support in this town. Help spread this around until someone sees fit to do something. Our sheriff wants to keep it off Facebook and out of the media. He wants it kept local and does not want us to give the wrong impression of our county to outsiders. If he wants it quiet, we need to make it loud.



    2. I’m afraid anyone with a brain is going to get the RIGHT impression about Stephens Co – the sheriff and the judge are good ol’ boys who’ve got everyone else under their thumbs and the rule of law is whatever the sheriff and judge says it is.

      1. BULLSHIT!


  3. Does Georgia not have a Veterinary Practice Act that prohibits people who are not licensed veterinarians from performing surgery on pet animals? What is the point of licensing veterinarians if just anyone can legally slice into an animal rather than take it to someone qualified?

    1. Amen. I believe I found some relevant information that states people can be fined up $500 for the first offense, which seems kind of cheap considering how much vet school costs.

      It does say, according to this link under 43-50-45 (C) – “The board or any citizen of this state may bring an action to enjoin any person from practicing veterinary medicine without a valid license. If the court finds that the person is violating, or is threatening to violate, this article, it shall enter an injunction restraining him or her from such unlawful acts.”

      Here is the site to the Veterinary Board rules. –

    2. We have had a hard time getting anyone at any level of government to step up and do anything. We need help pressuring the top to put pressure locally. all advise and help accepted.

  4. This report is misleading and inflammatory. I cannot even begin to tell you how this group has lied, slandered and mislead the public in their statements. Toccoa also has a symphony, art guild, two colleges and a hospital. We have excellent school facilities and senior services. We have a falls higher than Niagara and artifacts older than the pyramids. Our people are educated and articulate. We have had issues. Yes, but our commissioners have rectified this. This fails to tell you that there were no provisions made by the shelter either for proper citations and that our commissioners have created a new animal control position to address all issues of animal cruelty. I urge you to find a more reliable source for your news.

    1. That makes me feel so much better – educated, articulate symphony goers who play do-it-yourself surgeries on their animals. And the excellent school facilities – hell, yes. Where else can you have the experience of doing surgery on live cats in science class. One place I’ll be staying away from. Seems to me, we need to get the words out- and the locals don’t sound real happy about that happening.

    2. City and county had given verbal authority for citation but county rescinded when the teacher issue arose. The new position for animal control is under the county marshal and duties are more than animal control. DeeDee is one of the supporters of the teacher who castrated cats in class. I care little about all the ‘achievements’ here if our moral compass is off.

  5. Let’s not forget that this is the same county that shot and killed a preacher at a local gas station when he was trying to get away from 2 drug dealers brandishing guns (they were actually undercover police officers but Rev Ayers couldn’t have known that). Everyone knows that law enforcement in this area is run by fellas who believe they’re in the Wild West.

  6. People don’t know this town so before you judge based on ignorant people thoughts, let me ask one question, what about farmers who castrate their own cows and pigs, oh I forgot that is different because we need to eat, so it is ok. Look people when a dog or cat has more rights than people, then what the hell are we doing here?

    1. Just an ignorant people thought here but speaking for myself, I am not in favor of farmers castrating cows and pigs. How you made the leap from livestock castration to dogs and cats having more rights than people is beyond me but then my town has no symphony.

      1. Nor I . . . there is no good reason for humans to inflict pain and suffering on any animal! And my town has two symphonies!

  7. One more thing to the lady about rev. Ayers, that was not a local law enforcer who shot him that officer was from another county it just happened to be in Toccoa when all of that happened. And honestly wouldn’t you rather someone castrate their own animal that for someone to kill it. Because I can’t stand cats. I don’t kill animals, but you need to understand how the pound works, they capture an animal they (the citizens of this town) have to pay taxes to keep these animals up and then if no one gets one then they are put to sleep.

    1. The shelter here does its best to keep from euthanizing the animals (about half or more are owner surrendered). They transport animals routinely to other states and rescue operations where the demand for pets is greater. While part of the funds for this are tax dollars (City and county) most is from private donors.

  8. In re: to Dee Dee
    Excellent school facilities – H.S. graduation rate went from 90.8 in 2013 to 85.3 in 2014. This while the state graduation rate increased each year from 2011. A waterfall higher than Niagara – well THAT trickle is a show-stopper, isn’t it? I see plenty of folks wandering the streets with nothing to do (ie. lack of employment). One thing Stephens SHOULD be proud of is the shelter’s adoption rate of the animals they have to take in courtesy of the yahoos who want the services of animal control but don’t want to pay for it.
    But wait, that can’t possibly be a feather in a community’s cap, can it?

  9. This is no question of the importance of human life vs our pets lives. I continue to hear that this is slander, lies, etc. The fact remains a domestic animal was castrated in the classroom of the high school. This is unacceptable. Why not take your FFA students on a field trip to the Veterinary College at UGA? Why not go to a farm and observe a calf or pig being castrated? Cats and dogs are domestic animals therefore they are to be taken to someone who practices Veterinary medicine, a Veterinarian, for any and all care. The surgery is something that needs to take place in a sterile environment with the proper sedation and surgical instruments. You cannot tell me the dog who was castrated at home felt no pain. Let’s see, you take a blade and slice open the scrotum to remove the testicle and tie it off. I digress. There are spay/neuter certificates available to ensure these surgeries are economical. Stephens County is overrun with strays simply because of the lack of education and awareness as far as the importance of spaying and neutering. Folks need to understand that their pets are actually much healthier after castration. There is no need to leave them intact unless you are “breeding to improve the breed”.
    It is unfortunate that everyone in the community wants to “spew hatred and lies”. I have seen it on social media from both sides. We need a solution and it will begin with everyone working together. It cannot be swept under the rug as some wish it would be. My fear is that some will continue to attempt these castrations at home. We need to take care of our domestic animals.

    1. They never asked if they could bring them to my office here in town. Had they asked I would have scheduled a time to do them as a class demo of proper technique on domestic animals and educated them on the difference between livestock and domestic animals and the need to treat them differently due to their medical differences. And yes I would have done it for free. But I wasn’t asked and I don’t think the point was to involve the veterinarian but to show the students how to avoid them. Just saying.

      I do not agree that all pets are healthier castrated. If that were true then all people would be altered. Hormones can be beneficial. But if you don’t neuter, you should be very responsible as an owner.

      1. Can you give us a facebook link so we can share our thoughts? The longer this stays under wraps, the harder it will be to make changes.
        Some of these folks ought to be altered, too . . . just sayin’

      2. You know…it might be worth a shot to ask the school if those students would like a demonstration of how a vet does it. If they see the difference between holding down a struggling animal and one with anesthesia, they may realize that the alternative is the better choice…

      3. mikken, I was thinking something similar. Thing is … back before the 80s, all my toms were neutered with just locals. Then in the mid-80s my vet started using general anesthesia, and the difference was marked. The first tom I had done that way recovered so quickly he didn’t even skip a meal, and I was so happy I called the vet the next morning to tell him how impressed I was.

        I’ve seen an even more dramatic difference in the castrations performed at the horse rescue I donate to, that are done under anesthesia. I’ll spare everyone descriptions of what was done to colts back in the bad old days.

        I’m baffled anyone would want to turn the clock back. It’s downright perverse.

      4. You are very brave to be taking a public stand on this! I have a possibly ignorant veterinary question: years ago I observed a southern country vet castrate several cats very quickly without anesthesia. He stated that because of anatomical differences it was possible (though not ideal) to do this for cats but not dogs. Is there any truth to the notion that it would be worse for dogs than for cats?

  10. Has anyone spoken to the students who witnessed the castration? I feel as if some of them would speak to how barbaric it was. If I had seen something like that as a teen I would have been in tears.

  11. OH DEAR GOD!!!

    I wasn’t yet following you at this point, and I am DUMBSTRUCK!!!

    These people are abusers disguised as “educators” and it’s sickening.

    I want to go do surgery on all of them; what is the world coming to? The human race is swirling the bowl!!!

  12. Apparently people don’t know the old ways of doing things . Point one 90% of farm animals were casterated by being thrown down by ropes with zero amount of sedation to this day . Point two- it’s perfectly fine for folk to kill animals for sport leaving them laying there for hours while still hunting suffering bleeding to death . Point three- Get over it people ! Humans do dumb things – right or wrong. Everyone has a problem with anything one may or may not do. The judge is the judge . Put your worries towards hungry families, the cold elderly and children like our dear sheriff does and stop the bashing .

    1. Do NOT tell ANY of us how we should care about this or that! Seventeen wrongs don’t make a right. Having compassion for animals is a moral good, and if you can’t extend compassion to a ‘simple’ animal, you sure as hell can’t extend it to humans, who are SO much harder to get along with. Your advice of ‘get over it’ shows you to be a cold-hearted, presumptive snot of the highest caliber. I’d call you a bitch, but that would be a vile insult to female dogs.

  13. Facebook page link

    I see no slander or lies on this page. I know of two vet clinics – one in Toccoa and one in Clarkesville GA – where male cats can be neutered for $50 or less. Financial help is available through the local shelters – I know because they helped me get my cats spayed and neutered for FREE. So I ask DeeDee — Why are you defending this man? And you are blaming the shelter?? Blame the teacher who has made a bad decision and is hiding behind his family and religious beliefs. Are you not aware that most serial killers and child molesters have past records of animal abuse? Do you not care about the children? Do you not care that this teacher has broken the law and is not accepting responsibility? He, and you, are not facing reality. His actions have led to another animal mutilation. It is illegal in Georgia to operate without a valid veterinary license. Animal cruelty is illegal in Georgia. Basic state codes cover that. Surely there is a state board for teachers in Georgia. I plan to file a complaint on Mr Daniel Hebert, Stephens County Georgia Agriculture Teacher. And thank you, DeeDee, for showing us what the locals there are really like. You are the perfect reason to NOT visit Toccoa Georgia. No intelligent life found there. smh in disbelief and horror at what evil is in humanity

  14. Not quite kateh ! I have pets of my own whom are cared for dearly and properly which are vet neutered . My dog of 17 years passed away recently, you have pets that long ? . Not counting the animals I had to help birth by turning etc and nursed to health . Cold hearted presumptive snot bitch I hardly think so. You’re seemingly quick to judge and apparently misread what I wrote. Contradicting what I said . Try again with the insults my lady. Sticks and stones .

  15. To Sophia. (1) Cats are not livestock. Some farm traditions are cruel but that’s not the subject here. It is illegal to neuter or spay a domesticated animal in Georgia without a valid veterinary license. (2) Hunting is not illegal. Again, not the subject here. (3) Sometimes people do make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes are illegal and have consequences. Are you having a contest? I had a cat that lived to be 24.

    1. Again, where is the area vet association to publicly and loudly voice support for a complete investigation and prosecution of these dangerous people and to educate the public that THIS IS NOT OK? In AL, the vet association has thrown endless resources toward attempting to smear and put out of business vets who offer low cost spay-neuter, which is absurd. Why can’t a vet association in GA get on top of these atrocities?

Leave a Reply