Leslie Dedo addressed the Upson County Board of Commissioners at Tuesday’s meeting to talk about the issue of enforcing a dangerous dog ordinance. Dedo stated she suffered grievous injuries when attacked by a German Shepherd in April of this year and told the board of many problems she has with the way her case was handled. One she pointed out was the dog, Skipper, was not confiscated after she was bitten and quarantined for ten days at the Animal Shelter to determine if the dog has rabies. Skipper was instead allowed to be quarantined at his home. She also noted that since then, he has been out on several occasions without a leash or muzzle and when Animal Control is called, nothing is being done.
Animal Control Director Smart Web later told The Thomaston Times that Skipper was allowed to be quarantined at home because he had just undergone hip surgery and was seeking medical treatment by Dr. Crawford. He also noted that Animal Control went and checked on the dog every day and that Skipper was up to date on all of his shots. He went on to say that Skipper cannot get out of the fence that the Andersons put up around their property, due to his age and bad hip he cannot jump over it or crawl under it. Since the enclosure is on the Andersons property, as long as Skipper stays in it then he does not have to be on a leash or muzzle. It is only once he is outside of the fence that those requirements have to be met.
The issue of how a dog bite case is handled also came up. Web stated Animal Control is notified by the hospital, Family Medical Center or other doctor offices in town when a dog bite occurs and the person seeks medical attention. The department does not find out about many instances because, according to Web, people handle the problems on their own without making formal complaints. However, once they are notified then action will be taken. Web, or one of the other Animal Control officers, will go out to the home of the dog in question and assess the situation, determining if the dog is potentially dangerous or dangerous. The offender’s owners will then be given a letter stating what the requirements are now that their dog has been classified as dangerous or potentially dangerous and will be released to the owners after the quarantine period is up. If the owners do not agree with the classification, then a hearing can be scheduled with the Animal Control Board, who will either agree with the department’s decision or make a different ruling.
When speaking to the board, Dedo also stated she feels the Animal Control department should be under the control of the Sheriff’s Office due to the fact that being under the control of the County Commission, Animal Control officers cannot legally issue citations or have any law enforcement capabilities.
Commission Chairman Maurice Raines told Dedo during the meeting that this was the first he was hearing of her incident and he understood that she was upset and had every right to be. He suggested a meeting between himself, Dedo and Animal Control in the coming week to discuss the situation.