Saturday, May 9, 2015

WASHINGTON GA - AFTER THE MAULING DEATH OF NETA LEE ADAMS, 81, ON MARCH 31 BY A DOG/DOGS THAT WERE NEVER FOUND OR BREED IDENTIFIED, CITY COUNCIL FOCUSES ON DOG ORDINANCES TO PREVENT ANY MORE DOG ATTACK DEATHS

By KIP BURKE
news editor
Monday’s regular meeting of the Washington City Council started on a somber note as Mayor Ames Barnett led the city leaders and the audience in a moment of silence in memory of the late Neta Lee Adams, who was the victim of a dog attack March 31.
“It’s terrible that it happened,” the mayor said. “We think this won’t happen in our back yard, but it has happened in our back yard, and now we need to address it. We’re going to meet next week with the animal shelter and others and get their recommendations on what we can do. We owe it to Miss Neta to protect kids and other people walking down the street, and we’re going to have to make some hard decisions and put some rules in place. Some people may get mad, but at the end of the day we’re doing what’s right. We’re going to get on top of it and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
City Administrator Sherri Bailey reviewed the city’s dog ordinances for the council. “Right now, we have a ‘running at large’ ordinance in place and an inoculation ordinance, so if you live in the city, you are supposed to have your dogs under control, in your possession, at all times. If you’re out walking it, it should be on a leash. If you have a dog, it should be either penned up in a secure way and not let it run around in the streets.”
Bailey said she is working with Darren Altman, the new city animal control officer. “He has been patrolling the streets, and he has responded to every single call that has come in either to him directly or through 911 or the Sheriff’s Office. I’ve spoken to the sheriff, and he’s got his deputies on the lookout for any dogs running at large. This is nothing new, it’s been in the ordinances for a long time.”
Bailey reminded citizens of their duty, too. “Mr. Altman is doing his best to respond to the calls, but I would ask the citizens that, if you see a dog running around at large, please call the Sheriff’s Office or Mr. Altman. He is certified, he can set up traps, he can use the dart gun, and he will do his best. But we have to know about them.”
Inoculations and tags are also part of the city ordinances, she said. “I want to remind citizens that you must have your animals’ shots up to date, and we will be picking up these dogs as we find them and take them to the animal shelter, and when you come to claim your dog, if it has not got the proper identification tags and found running at large, there are citations that will be issued for that. Those are the ordinances that are in place now.”
“Part of the problem is people seeing dogs and not calling,” Mayor Barnett said. “If you see a dog running loose, call us so we can deal with it.”
“My issue is not the dogs,” said Councilman Kimberly Rainey. “My issue is how did she wind up in the ditch? Where is her money? What happened to her beforehand? So I’m kinda real upset that we’re not focused on that issue, because to me that’s the real issue. What happened to her money? What happened to her pants? Nobody’s addressing that issue. That’s being glossed over. Yes the dog may have been the cause of death from what the GBI said, but how did she get in the ditch?”
Councilman Marion Tutt Jr. did not agree. “The root of this is the owner of the dog. We need to find the owner and hold them accountable. People need to be able to walk in peace and safety.”

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