Originally created 09/16/97

Hits animal law impeding `kindness'

I'm writing to alert citizens ... of a little-known law that affects kind-hearted citizens.

Several months ago some irresponsible pet owner dumped three dogs in a neighborhood by the Columbia Augusta Medical Center. A few weeks later another car dumped a small black dog in the same area.

I and several others noticed the dogs and began to carry fresh water and food to the field where they live.

My motivation was twofold. First, I cannot abide suffering in any living creature. Second, I thought if they were fed in their particular area, they would stay there close to the food source rather than prowl the neighborhood, causing mischief or damage. ...

I was visited by an Animal Control officer who politely informed me that I should cease feeding these dogs or I was in danger of receiving a "citation."

I had been reported for feeding "vicious" dogs that were terrifying people by chasing cars and barking. Because they were being fed, he explained, it was impossible to lure them into traps baited with food.

I'm sure the officer was only doing his job, but if this is the law then anyone who takes pity on abandoned pets is at risk of receiving a citation -- which I assume could mean a fine and/or imprisonment.

My hope is the dogs will become adoptable by the "criminals" who feed them. If they had gone to the animal shelter earlier, they almost certainly would be dead. ...

... If it is against the law to be kind to animals that inhabit our world, then I guess I'm a lawbreaker. Does this law make sense?

Faye O. Larson, Augusta


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