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Animal Services sees decrease in summer calls

Summer months averaged 950 calls

Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013 7:20 PM
Last updated Monday, Sept. 23, 2013 12:36 AM
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Now that fall has begun, animal services officers hope to get a break from the high number of calls they see each summer.

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Complaints involving pets and other animals tend to rise in the summer time. Richmond County Animal Control authorities said they hear lots of complaints of animals being left unattended in hot vehicles.    EMILY ROSE BENNETT/STAFF
Complaints involving pets and other animals tend to rise in the summer time. Richmond County Animal Control authorities said they hear lots of complaints of animals being left unattended in hot vehicles.

Bianca Cain Johnson
Staff Writer
E-mail | 706-823-3486

“Our call volume goes up tremendously during the summertime,” said Sharon Broady, the director of animal services in Richmond County.

That pattern is seen in Columbia and Aiken counties, too.

Richmond County averaged about 950 calls about animals each month this summer. Aiken County saw about 500.

“This time this year it was raining, so it wasn’t too bad,” Edward Jefferson, the field operations manager in Richmond County, said of the calls that some months reached more than 1,000.

June and July were the worst months in Richmond County, while Aiken County’s numbers started increasing in May and are still high.

Calls normally begin to drop in the fall, but last year Aiken County’s numbers remained higher than normal because of a milder and more pleasant winter.

With a limited number of officers in Richmond and Aiken, officers find themselves having to prioritize the complaints.

Vicious animals usually come first, said Bobby Arthurs, the chief enforcement officer in Aiken County. Those calls are followed by dog bites, dangerous animals and cruelty.

Aiken County has four officers in the field full time. Richmond County has seven, but only about four will be on the road simultaneously.

Columbia County also sees an increase in calls, but it’s not so much that the officers can’t respond quickly.

“We’re blessed here in Columbia County,” said Daniel Mayne, the operations manager.

Officials said the majority of the extra calls comes from the increase of people outdoors. Jefferson said it’s not that activities are going on that aren’t going on the wintertime; it’s just that people become more aware.

Arthurs also attributed the increase to animal breeding season.

Only a small percentage of the calls involve animal abuse complaints. Since the year began, Richmond County has responded to 569 cases involving animal abuse.

“The most serious cases we get are where a dog is left outside and is starving to death,” Jefferson said.

Those cases aren’t too common. Generally, the pet owner hasn’t provided enough food, water and coverage from the sun.

Only 12 people have been sent to court in Richmond County this year out of the 569 cases for suspected animal abuse. About 63 percent of the cases were validated, but Jefferson said almost all pet owners have reversed their bad behavior when officers return for a checkup.

Hot cars also result in an increase of summertime calls. All counties said that most often the vehicles are gone by the time they arrive. Aiken and Columbia counties already had ordinances in place regarding hot cars, but Richmond County’s went into effect June 27.

The new ordinance says an animal officer has the right to break out a window of the vehicle if the animal has been left inside when the outside temperature is above 80 degrees or below 32. The animal will be taken to a vet at the expense of the owner, who will also face a citation.

That is one of several animal safety concerns Richmond County officials have been looking at.

“The city ordinances were 40 years old and needed revising,” Broady said.

Other considerations include adding ordinances about animals traveling in the bed of a truck, tethering and animal waste removal.

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TheGeorgian 09/22/13 - 10:29 pm
Richmond Shelter

A hearty thank-you to all the fine people working there for all they do for the animals of Richmond County. We called them this summer to collect two young cats someone had dumped here in the country. One, the loving one, got adopted as a housecat and the other as a barn cat. Applause for a job well done! Two of our own cats came from the shelter and they are terrific pets. Special thanks to Kennel Manager, Priscilla Crissler, for her tireless dedication to helping animals. Richmond County is fortunate to have such marvelous people and I hope they get a raise!

soapy_725 09/23/13 - 06:10 am
CC doesn't return calls for cat traps. Wear down the callers.

CC doesn't return calls for cat traps. Wear down the callers.

nocnoc 09/23/13 - 06:36 am
Maybe a decrease

Maybe a decrease elsewhere
But out here on the South side with all this stinking furmented garage cooking in the 90 degree sun a few dog packs (3 or 4)have been roaming the yards.

So far 8 dogs this summer, that we have seen captured in just our section of Brown rd.

Of those 2 dogs were hit by a car that only stopped, to get out to check for car damage, with the dogs still in the road screaming in pain, he got back in and left. He was just worried about his car.

The Pound person arrived shortly afterwards and took the injured dogs away.

dichotomy 09/23/13 - 12:02 pm
I've got 3 running loose out

I've got 3 running loose out here that are killing the wild turkeys when they come out to forage in my back field. The big turkeys fly up into a tree but the smaller ones don't seem to be quite as flight worthy and land back on the ground in 100 ft. or so. The dogs seem to know that and just keep after them in a dead run until the turkeys are a little too slow taking off again. I've seen one of the dogs leap and snag a turkey right out of the air. Two of the dogs have collars on but no vaccination tags and none of the neighbors claim to know who they belong to.

nocnoc 09/23/13 - 12:51 pm
dichotomy - Given your remote property,

they look and sound like coyotes to me.....
and there is no laws against shooting coyotes.


TheGeorgian 09/23/13 - 04:32 pm
Brown Road

Nocnoc, we don't live that far apart. I don't know whether people in Burke are dumping dogs in South Richmond or whether it's townies driving out this way and dumping but if they get caught they have the law to answer to and no 'maybes' about it. If people have dogs they can't keep they need take them to the shelter or call Animal Control. This is totally unacceptable and inhumane. If people start writing down license numbers and calling police I'll bet some of these events cease.

Darby 09/23/13 - 09:30 pm
Nocnoc - The South doesn't have a monopoly

on animal "lovers".

My granddaughter, now living in NYC while attending grad school adopted a kitten she found outside her apartment.

A construction worker told her that some "lady" had stopped her car, tossed out three kittens and sped off.

Now my granddaughter is concerned that her landlord won't allow her to keep it.

C'est la Vie.

TheGeorgian 09/24/13 - 07:54 pm

We have five cats, all of which were adopted from the shelter or rescue. We have two dogs, one of which was thrown out of a car in front of our house and had sense enough as a pup to come to our porch. That was nearly four years ago and, thankfully, he was not injured and has overcome a phobia about cars.

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