UPDATE 11 p.m. Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has responded:
The Chatham County Police Department investigated the case along with Chatham County Animal Services. Both agencies are separate from the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office. You may make an Open Records request to obtain the details of their investigations
First of all, I’d like to say it takes a lot to piss me off to the point where I write a dog abuse case up on a cat website. Except, according to police, it’s not “abuse” and from the media statement issued the case is pretty much closed. This one has angered animal advocates around the country and I imagine around the globe as well since word travels so quickly.
The case of an abused dog in Chatham County, Georgia has led to an investigation by the Chatham County Police Department and the Chatham County Animal Services department. Please keep in mind the owner may be/is allegedly employed by the Chatham County Sheriff’s Department (which is very confusing at this time depending on who you believe is the actual dogs owner).
For Immediate Release by the Chatham County Board of Commissioners
December 31, 2019
Chatham County Animals Services Investigative Findings on Reported Animal Neglect
Chatham County, GA (December 31, 2019) – On Saturday, December 28, 2019, Chatham County Police were called to a residence on the west side of the County for an animal welfare check. The officer found that both animals on the property had proper water, food , and shelter, however, one of the dogs was tethered. A Chatham County Animal Services officer responded to the residence to assist since tethering is a violation of the Animal Services ordinance.
The Animal Services officer noted that the dog on the tether was very thin. She also noted that the dog was otherwise bright, alert and responsive and in no immediate distress. Per protocol, she left a notice at the residence and scheduled a follow-up meeting.
Later that evening a second call for service was received for the same residence. It was reported that the thin dog had gotten loose and was at large. When the Animal Services officer arrived on scene, they were told that the person who found the dog had taken in to Savannah Animal Care, a veterinary clinic.
Upon review of the notes made upon intake at Savannah Animal Care, veterinarian staff at the clinic determined no emergency treatment was needed for the dog. The Animal Services officer responded to Savannah Animal Care and advised staff that the owner had been contacted and would retrieve the dog. Savannah Animal Care released the dog back to its owner.
On Monday Dr. Jake Harper, director of Chatham County Animal Services and a veterinarian, spoke with the dog’s owner. The owner, who is an employee of the Chatham County Sheriff’s office, stated that the dog had been seen by a veterinarian in September and was and is being treated for multiple health issues. Veterinary records were provided to support this. The owner was advised that the dog should not be on a tether while repairs and adjustments were made to keep her from getting out.
“After reviewing the facts and speaking with their veterinarian, it has been determined that this is not a case of neglect. The dog has been and continues to undergo treatment for a medical condition which has caused her to be unable to maintain weight. The owners took her to their veterinarian this morning for continued treatment,” says Dr. Harper.
Several social media post surrounding this case have stated that there are horses on this property that have been neglected. There are no horses connected to this incident. However, Dr. Harper states, “I would like to make sure our residents know that found animals that are sick or injured should be reported to Animal Services to help ensure the proper handling of these cases. If anyone suspects that an animal is being neglected or abused, please contact Animal Services or your local police department so it can be investigated.”
I had planned to post several photos of the skinny dog but the entire post has disappeared in several places. I was able to find one, despite assumed efforts to hide the dog. What infuriates me is the dog was tethered outside (the owner should know this is illegal since the owner is an employee) and it’s not healthy enough to be outside. We’ve had some very cold, wet days. SHOULDN’T A SICK DOG BE KEPT INSIDE SINCE THE IMMUNE SYSTEM ISN’T AS STRONG?
Readers, also please take note that the person who took the dog to the shelter had a police report filed against them making them appear to be a criminal.
Local news media in the area have been informed and word has it they’ll be pursuing this case over the next day of so. Photos for this article were taken from the Chatham County Animal Services Facebook page in the Community section.
Sure, the Sheriff’s Office may have skirted the law. The dog was tethered (illegal) but the owner says they have veterinary records to back up the dog has trouble gaining weight. I can even ‘buy’ that excuse because many illnesses can do this to a dog. My main issue is WHY would ANY loving dog owner tether such a skinny dog outside. It has no fat for insulation from the cold. At least food, water and some kind of shelter was provided. Even if a doghouse is available, it would still be hard for the dog to stay warm.
During an interview with WTOC News, director of Chatham County Animal Services, Dr. Jake Harper stated
Before anybody goes out to say anything about something that they may or may not know all aspects of the story, it’s probably a good idea to hold some judgment first. It’s what we’re trying…we try to do that as well, law enforcement, animal services and those type things. We don’t make rush decisions, and I would hope that people out there would realize that maybe it’s not the best thing to go make a rush decision about what’s going on when you don’t know everything that’s going on.
The above statement says the dog was seen by a veterinarian in September. THAT WAS THREE MONTHS AGO! Any dog with a medical condition that prevents weight gain should see a vet much more often.
I’d also like to add the news anchorman noted at the end of the interview with Harper that allegations the dog belongs to a member of the Sheriff’s Department simply aren’t true, yet in the early part of their article they state the owner is employed by the Sheriff’s Department. SO confusing…
So, what do the readers here think? No charges for animal cruelty or neglect since the owner provided paperwork and also has a JOB with the Sheriff’s Department. If that were you or I, we’d be arrested on the spot!