The Butts County Board of Commissioners hereby posts its intention to propose for passage a revised Ordinance on Animal Control. The intention of the revisions to the Ordinance is clarify language and to ensure that the Ordinance and current practices for the enforcement of animal control issues within Butts County work in concert with one another. The Board held a First Reading of the Ordinance on June 12, 2017 and intends to hold a Second Reading and passage of the Ordinance at the July 10, 2017 Regular Meeting.

Chapter 10 – ANIMALS

FOOTNOTE(S):

— (1) —

Editor’s note—An ordinance adopted March 9, 2015, amended §§ 10-31—10-51 in their entirety to read as herein set out. Formerly, said sections pertained to similar subject matter, and derived from Ord. No. 3(1)2000, §§ 1—16, adopted March 6, 2000; and Ord. of June 11, 2012. See the Code Comparative Table for complete derivation.

Cross reference— A-R agricultural-residential district, ch. 100, art. 5; environment, ch. 34; health and sanitation, ch. 46.

State Law reference— Georgia Animal Protection Act, O.C.G.A. § 4-11-1 et seq.; authority to exercise animal control, Ga. Const. art. IX, § II, ¶ III(a)(3).

ARTICLE I. – IN GENERAL

 

Secs. 10-1—10-30. – Reserved.

ARTICLE II. – ANIMAL CONTROL

 

FOOTNOTE(S):

— (2) —

State Law reference— Control of rabies, O.C.G.A. § 31-19-1 et seq.; inoculation of dogs and cats against rabies, O.C.G.A. § 31-19-6; rabies inoculation tags, O.C.G.A. § 31-19-6.

Sec. 10-31. – Preamble.

In order to protect the health and safety of persons and animals in Butts County, Georgia, to improve and make for safe motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic, to control the incidence and spread of rabies, to prohibit abandonment and other forms of cruelty to animals, to promote the general welfare of the citizens of this county by providing specific regulations concerning the care and treatment of animals and providing for violations of those regulations, and to invest the authority to enforce those regulations, the Board of Commissioners of Butts County, Georgia, hereby adopts this article, to be known as the Animal Control Ordinance.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-32. – Animal Control and Welfare Department.

This department shall be under the direction of the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator, by and through the Animal Control and Welfare Department via the direction and supervision of the Animal Control Department’s Supervisor or his/her designated officer(s). Employees of the Animal Control and Welfare Department shall be charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Animal Control Ordinance of the County and the operation of the County’s Animal Shelter.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-33. – Definitions.

For the purpose of this article, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them by this section:

Abandoned Animal means any animal which has been placed upon public property or within a public building unattended and uncared for, or upon or within the private property of another without the express permission of the owner, custodian or tenant of the private property and is unattended or without care. An animal shall also be considered as abandoned, for the purposes of this chapter, which has been upon or within the property of the owner or custodian of this animal for a period of time in excess of thirty-six (36) hours unattended and without proper food, water and shelter. Abandonment shall also include failure to provide reasonable remedy or relief for any injured or diseased animal. An animal shall also be considered as abandoned if the owner is notified of impoundment and refuses to reclaim the animal. If the animal is owner surrendered, the animal is considered abandoned. An animal shall be removed from public or private property by an Animal Control Officer or other employee if the animal’s physical condition or surroundings pose an imminent threat or health hazard to the animal or humans.

Adequate Food means sufficient quantity of non-contaminated and nutritionally healthy sustenance that is appropriate to the species, breed, size, age and health of the animal, or at the direction of a licensed veterinarian, which is sufficient to prevent starvation, malnutrition, or risk to the animal’s health. Garbage, spoiled, rancid, or contaminated food is not adequate food.

Adequate Shelter means protective cover appropriate for the species and providing adequate space to maintain the animal in good health, which also prevents pain, suffering or a significant risk to the animal’s health. Adequate shelter shall consist of a completely enclosed structure with four sides with a door opening, a constructed floor, and a roof. It should also be clean, dry and compatible with current weather conditions, in addition to age, size, species and condition of the animal. It must be stabilized and positioned so as not to allow rainwater to gather inside the structure. The structure should be of sufficient size to allow the animal to stand, turn around, lie down and go in and out of the structure comfortably. Adequate shelter must be compatible with the number of animals on the property. Adequate space means a sufficient safe space for adequate exercise suitable to the age, size, species and breed of animal.

(1)   “Adequate shelter” includes but is not limited to the following:

  1. Sufficient coverage and insulation to protect an animal from extreme hot and cold temperatures.
  2. Sufficient protection from the elements to keep the animal dry.
  3. Sufficient shade and ventilation to prevent an animal from overheating and/or dehydrating.
  4. Adequate bedding or resting area suitable for the breed, species, age, size, and medical condition of the animal.

(2)   Materials not suitable for shelters include but are not limited to:

  1. Inadequately insulated containers.
  2. Plastic kennels or airline-type animal shipping crates which have air holes or open vents.
  3. Metal drums.
  4. Abandoned or parked vehicles.
  5. Uncovered decks or porches having less than four (4) sides.
  6. Lean-tos having less than four (4) sides.
  7. Any other structure that fails to provide sufficient protection from the elements.

Adequate Veterinary Care means medical care of an animal from or under the direction of a veterinarian and necessary to maintain the health of an animal based on the age, species, breed, etc., of the animal, or to prevent an animal from suffering from:

(1)   Ongoing infections;

(2)   Infestation of parasites;

(3)   Disease; or

(4)   Any other medical condition/injury where withholding or neglecting to provide such care would:

  1. Endanger the health or welfare of the animal; or
  2. Promote the spread of communicable diseases.

Adequate Water means clear, clean, drinkable water in adequate supply. Examples of inadequate water include, but are not limited to, snow, ice, rainwater and rancid/contaminated water.

Adoption shall mean:

  • The Animal Control employee may offer for adoption any animal that has been unclaimed by the owner after three business days or, if the animal is voluntarily surrendered to the Animal Control Shelter by the owner of the animal, the animal may be offered for adoption immediately.
  • All persons adopting an animal shall be eighteen (18) years of age or over and shall provide adequate and humane care, feeding, shelter and protection from the weather, and veterinary treatment as required. The frequency with which animals may be adopted and placed in any household may be restricted.
  • Any person adopting an animal shall not use the animal for breeding, fighting, or profit and shall not engage in any research involving the use of the animal or supply the animal to any individual or institution which may use the animal in research.
  • Any person or persons, residing in a central household, who have been convicted of an ordinance violation or have had a history of noncompliance with County ordinances within Butts County, may be denied the rights of adoption from the Animal Control shelter. Current photo identification, mailing and physical addresses, and active telephone numbers are required before visitation/viewing of animals will be permitted. Home inspections, veterinary references, and inquiries at other licensed animal control facilities may be required at any time (during or after) adoption or transfer of any animal.
  • Any person adopting an animal from the Butts County Animal Control shall pay an adoption fee in an amount stated in the schedule of fees. Charges may also include all or part of the costs of an examination and inoculations and all or part of the costs associated with neutering or spaying dogs and cats.
  • Any person adopting an animal shall have the animal sterilized (spayed or neutered) within a period specified as follows: within thirty (30) days from the date of adoption for animals six (6) months or older, or within the first six (6) months of age for sexually immature animals. Any adopted or transferred animal not sterilized within the time specified may be reclaimed by Animal If an animal is not sterilized within the specified time period, the owner shall receive a citation for violating this article and/or the animal may be impounded.

Animals are defined as follows:

Dead animal. Animals which are deceased and are on private or public property. Butts County                                                       Public Works Department is authorized to remove dead animals from public property, including public schools, parks, and roadways.

Domestic animals. Animals that are accustomed to live in or about the habitation of humans, that are not found naturally in the wild state, including, but not limited to, cats, dogs and various genetically established strains of laboratory/pet animals such as mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, and rabbits.

Domestic farm animals. Domestic animals of types customarily raised or kept on farms for profit or other productive purposes, including, but not limited to, cattle, horses, mules, swine, sheep, goats, llamas, emus, ostriches, donkeys, poultry or other similar birds and animals.

Domestic fowl animals. Domesticated birds commonly associated with farms and used for eggs or meat. Domestic fowl include but are not limited to chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys.

Domestic/wild animals. An established strain of wild animal, which is generally used in the fur or pet industry, including, but not limited to, ranch mink, ferrets and brown and white skunks.

Feral animals. Domestic animals which have reverted back to a wild state and do not exhibit traits consistent with their intended use.

Vermin and/or wildlife. These are wild animals and birds that are believed to be harmful to crops, farm animals, or game, or that carry disease. These can be predators such as foxes, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, wolves or bears. These can also be herbivores and burrowing animals which directly damage land, such as armadillos, opossums, and wild deer. Mice, rats, squirrels, and other rodents may also be included in this category. Vermin and/or wildlife are excluded from and are not subject to this ordinance, unless these animals are accidentally caught in humane traps provided to the public by Animal Control. All complaints and matters concerning animals not of a domestic nature, and complaints involving game animals or protected species and/or hunting shall be forwarded to the State Department of Natural Resources, Game and Fish Division, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement Division, or other wildlife management entities for the proper disposition compliance, apprehension, and controlling enforcement as may be necessary and provided by State law or Federal regulations.

Animal Control and Welfare Department:

(1)   The Animal Control and Welfare Department shall be under the direction of and supervision of the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor. Such Supervisor shall be appointed by the County Administrator and shall have the authority, with the approval of the Board of Commissioners or such person designated by the Board of Commissioners, to select and hire Animal Control personnel. The Animal Control and Welfare Department is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Animal Control Ordinances of the County and the operation of the Animal Shelter.

(2)   The primary responsibility for the enforcement of this chapter shall be vested in the Animal Control and Welfare Department, who may call upon the Butts County Sheriff’s Office from time to time to assist him/her in enforcement of this chapter. The Butts County Board of Health Rabies Control Officer may also call upon the Supervisor for assistance. The Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor, or designee, shall serve as the Animal Control Officer of the County, as provided by Georgia law in O.C.G.A. § 4-8-22. The Supervisor may, in the exercise of his/her authority, delegate enforcement responsibilities of this chapter to such staff as he/she may select, as provided herein. The Animal Control Supervisor, the Animal Control Officers, the Sheriff of Butts County and his/her deputies, and the City of Jackson Police Department’s officers shall be authorized to issue citations for violations of these ordinances.

(3)   Upon information made known to or complaint lodged with the Supervisor or his/her officers that any owner, possessor, or custodian of any animal is in violation of this chapter, the Supervisor or his/her designees shall investigate such information or complaint.

(4)   It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to interfere, obstruct, or hinder with any Animal Control Officer or any law enforcement officer engaged in the enforcement of this chapter, to take or attempt to take any animal from a vehicle used to transport said animal, or to take or attempt to take any animal from the Animal Control impoundment area or areas.

(5)   In the performance of his/her duties pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, any Animal Control Officer or any law enforcement officer assisting in the enforcement of this chapter may use such force as is necessary to defend himself/herself from attack by any animal, provided, however, that all efforts shall be made to restrain and remove an animal without harm, injury or danger to the animal and the officer, and to other persons and property.

(6)   In the performance of his/her duties pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, any Animal Control Officer or any law enforcement officer assisting in the enforcement of this chapter shall be authorized to enter upon private property:

  1. With the permission of the owner, possessor, or custodian or tenant of said property for the purpose of investigating complaints or violations; or
  2. Without the permission of the owner, possessor, or custodian or tenant of said property for the purpose of restraining and removing an animal for impoundment, and for the purpose of enforcing this chapter where a violation is known to exist; or
  3. Without the permission of the owner, possessor, or custodian or tenant of said property for the purpose of restraining and removing an animal for impoundment where the life, safety or health of such animal is in immediate jeopardy or risk.

(7)   It shall be the duty of the Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor to keep and maintain, or to cause to be kept and maintained, accurate records of citizens’ complaints and licensing, impoundment and disposition of all animals coming into his/her custody for a period as required by records management regulations of the county or the state.

Animal Control Officer means any person designated by the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator by and through the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor or his/her designee to enforce the provisions of this article.

Animal Nuisance means any animal which:

(1)   Is dangerous;

(2)   Causes unsanitary conditions;

(3)   Attacks passersby or passing vehicles;

(4)   Is found at large (not under restraint);

(5)   Damages the property of others;

(6)   Excessively produces disturbing noises;

(7)   Female animal while in estrus (in heat, in season) not restrained in a manner which can responsibly be expected to keep away or not attract male animals of the same species; or

(8)   Is inimical to the public health, welfare or safety according to the rules and regulations promulgated by the Butts County Board of Health, which rules and regulations are incorporated herein and made a part hereof as if fully set out in this chapter.

Animal Shelter means the facilities operated by Butts County for confining animals impounded or surrendered under the provisions of this article.

Animal under restraint means:

(1)   Any animal secured by a leash or lead with a collar or harness, or enclosed by way of fence or other enclosure, or controlled by an electronic fencing system or electronic remote-control device, or under supervision of a responsible and competent person, and obedient to the person’s commands;

(2)   A dog being trained or hunted in conformance with the game laws of the State of Georgia and/or those dogs considered to be work animals.

Board means the Animal Control Board. This board is comprised of five (5) members: three (3) of the members are Butts County Department Heads and the remaining two (2) members are members of the general public who are residents of Butts County. The Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor is responsible for identifying and submitting the names of the individuals to the County Administrator for approval. The purpose of this board is to hear and examine testimony and documents to determine and ascertain whether or not an animal is to be designated as being aggressive and/or dangerous. The Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor may instead choose to refer appeals to the Probate Court of Butts County per O.C.G.A 4-8-23. If an Animal Control Board is created, the Animal Control Officer or Animal Control Welfare employee cannot sit on such board.

Certificate means a certificate or document issued at the time of vaccination for rabies of an animal and bearing thereon the signature of the licensed veterinarian, the vaccination tag number, the name, color, breed and sex of the animal, the name and address of the owner, and the date of the vaccination.

Classified animal means any animal that has been classified as either a dangerous animal or vicious animal pursuant to this article.

Cruelty to Animals means any person or persons who shall:

(1)   Knowingly or willfully and maliciously kill, abuse, maim, or disfigure any animal. A person does have the right to protect himself/herself, his/her property, and a third party; therefore, killing an animal that is in an active state of attack is justified.

(2)   Overdrive, overload, overwork, torture, beat, mutilate, carry or confine in a vehicle in an inhuman manner, or otherwise mistreat, any animal.

(3)   Fail to provide any animal with access to shelter adequate to protect it from all types of weather twenty-four (24) hours a day.

(4)   Build, make, maintain or keep a pit on premises owned by or occupied by said person or allow a pit to be built, made, maintained, or kept on such premises for the purpose of an exhibition of animal fighting.

(5)   In any manner encourage, instigate, promote or assist in an exhibition of animal fighting.

(6)   Knowingly abandon, knowingly or willingly permit the abandonment of, or aid in the abandonment of any domesticated animal.

(7)   Maliciously administer poison to any animal or expose any poisonous substance with intent that the same shall be taken and swallowed by any animal. Substances designed to control rodents/pests must be contained so that other animals (pets, livestock, wildlife) or people cannot access it accidentaly.

(8)   Fail to provide any animal with proper and wholesome quantities of food, fresh water, and veterinary care.

(9)   Keep or confine an animal in other than a humane manner or keep an animal in unsanitary conditions.

(10) Animal hoarding as defined herein.

Current Vaccination Tag means a metal tag issued by the appropriate state agency, which bears a number showing that it is current for one year up to three-year period for immunization of rabies.

Dangerous or vicious animal means any animal that:

(1)   Inflicts a severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property.

(2)   Causes a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by aggressive biting, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans without provocation after the animal has been classified as a potentially dangerous animal and after the owner has been notified of such classification.

(3)   Aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the animal posed an imminent threat of serious injury to such person or another person although no such injury occurs; provided, however, that the acts of barking, growling, or showing of teeth by an animal shall not be sufficient to classify an animal as dangerous.

Such a term shall not include a dog that inflicts any injury upon a person when the dog is being used by a law enforcement officer to carry out that officer’s official duties.

Disturbing Noises means the owning, possessing or harboring of any domestic animal which frequently, or for continued duration, howls, barks, meows, squawks or makes other sound which annoy or disturb any ordinary reasonable person of normal sensitivities across a residential or commercial boundary line or within a noise-sensitive area. For the purpose of this article, “barking dog” shall mean a dog that barks, bays, cries, howls or makes any other noise continuously for one-half hour or more to the disturbance of any person at any time of day or night, regardless of whether the dog is physically situated in or upon private property; provided, however, that a dog shall not be deemed a “barking dog” if, at the time the dog is barking or making any other noise, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon property in or upon which the dog is situated.

EAID means an Electronic Animal Identification Device (microchip or similar device).

Estrus means a regular, recurring period of receptivity and fertility in many female mammals in which the animal seeks to mate or breed (heat, season).

Fence.

(1)   Means a structure of wire, wood, stone, or other materials which is of sufficient height and strength to act as a barrier against passage of the animal or animals it is intended to enclose.

(2)   Also includes electronic (invisible) fence systems which provide an electric shock which prevents an animal from leaving the property of its owner, provided the animal is neither dangerous nor in estrus.

If an invisible containment system is in use:

  1. A sign must be visibly posted on the property indicating that the system is in place.
  2. The system must effectively restrain the animal

(3)   Animals which are “vicious” or “dangerous” as herein defined shall be restrained in an enclosure which not only restrains the animal from leaving the owner’s property, but also protects persons or animals who may come onto the property from harm. Female animals in estrus shall be restrained in such a way which can reasonably be expected not attract males of the same species.

Guard Dog means any dog which has been trained to attack persons or other animals independently or upon oral command and any dog which, while not so trained, is reasonably expected to perform as a guardian of the property upon and/or within which it is located.

Hoarding means:

(1)   Collecting animals and failing to provide them with humane/adequate care.

(2)   Collecting dead animals that are not properly disposed of as required by this chapter.

(3)   Collecting, housing, or harboring animals in filthy, unsanitary conditions that constitute a health hazard to the animals being kept, and/or to the animals or residents of adjacent property.

Humane Manner means to provide care for an animal to include, but not necessarily limited to, adequate heat, ventilation and sanitary shelter or manner of restraint, wholesome food and water consistent with the normal requirements and feeding habits of the animal’s size, species and breed; and provision of necessary veterinary medical care to ensure reasonable thriftiness and relief from undue pain or suffering.

Inhumane Manner means:

(1)   The failure to provide humane care.

(2)   Restraining an animal by affixing to its collar or otherwise attaching to its body a chain, rope, cord, or other lead which is attached to the ground or a fixed object.

(3)   Restraining an animal in such a way that it cannot access food and water or to move about freely in an area of reasonable size considering the size and nature of the animal.

(4)   An act or failure to act which causes death or unjustifiable pain or suffering to an animal.

Injured animal. The Animal Control and Welfare Director or his/her authorized representative shall have the authority to humanely dispose of animals which are injured and lying in the public right-of-way of Butts County or public or private property located in Butts County. The Animal Control Officer or other employee shall seek proper veterinary care for such animals, whenever it shall appear that said animal is injured and is suffering great pain, and if such animal does bear a tag or EAID identifying the owner. If veterinary care is required, the animal’s owner shall be responsible for all costs of such veterinary care. If no determination as to the owner of said animal can be made with reasonable inquiry or investigation, then said animal shall be humanely euthanized and properly disposed of, if veterinary care cannot be obtained.

Mail means to send by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the recipient’s last known address.

Obstruction of Officer means:

  • It shall be unlawful for any person to hinder, interfere, harass, or otherwise obstruct the performance of any Officer of the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department in the official performance of his/her duties as provided for in this chapter.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to relocate, interfere with, or alter the operation of any device, equipment, or item of the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to place their own animal into or remove any animal confined within a trap or cage operated by the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to give a false name, address, or date of birth to any officer, employee or agent of the Animal Control and Welfare Department in the lawful discharge of his or her official duties with the intent to mislead such officer, employee, or agent in any way.

Owner means any person possessing, owning, keeping, or harboring an animal for a period of seventy-two (72) hours or more; including, but not limited to, a person, legal entity, corporation, partnership, firm, or trust possessing, owning, keeping, or harboring an animal. In the case of an animal owned by a minor, the term “owner” includes the parents or person with custody of the minor.

Person means an individual, firm, corporation, municipality, society, or owner.

Potentially dangerous animal means any animal that:

(1)   Aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans without provocation on public or private property;

(2)   Inflicts a severe injury on another dog, cat, or other domestic animal or livestock without provocation on public or private property; or

(3)   Based on competent evidence, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack without provocation.

Such term shall not include a dog that inflicts an injury upon a person or animal when the dog is being used by a law enforcement officer to carry out that officer’s official duties.

Running at Large or To Run at Large means the going upon public or private property by an animal without the owner or person in charge thereof having control over such animal, and includes any animal whatsoever which may be staked, tied or hobbled in any manner as to allow such animal to go or get upon the public streets or sidewalks.

(1)   It shall be unlawful for an owner or custodian of any animal to allow or permit such animal to leave the premises of an owner or other person having custody of the animal unless such animal is securely under leash; said leash being not more than six feet long, and under the control of a competent person.

(2)   Animals must be confined to the premises of the owner or other person having custody of the animal and shall be restrained by means of a fence, wall, or other enclosure, or restrained individually by an approved tethering system. Excluded are those dogs participating in or training for obedience trials, field trials, dog shows, tracking work, or law enforcement.

Also, the requirements of this subsection shall not apply in any area zoned for agriculture where the owner or person having custody of the dog is at the time in question using the dog for hunting purposes, and has on his/her person a valid hunting license and proof of vaccination.

Seeing Eye dog means a dog that is trained to guide the blind.

Service Animal means any dog or other common domestic animal individually trained by a licensed certified person or organization to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability; including, but not limited to, guiding individuals who are blind or have low vision, alerting individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing to the presence of people or sounds, providing minimal protection or rescue work, pulling a wheelchair, fetching items, assisting an individual during a seizure, retrieving medicine or the telephone, providing physical support and assistance with balance and stability to individuals with mobility disabilities, and assisting individuals, including those with cognitive disabilities, with navigation.

(1)   The term “service animal” includes individually trained animals that do work or perform tasks for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, including psychiatric, cognitive, and mental disabilities.

(2)   The term “service animal” does not include most wild animals (may include nonhuman primates born in captivity), reptiles, rabbits, most farm animals (may include miniature horses or pigs), ferrets, amphibians, and rodents.

(3)   Animals whose sole function is to provide emotional support, comfort, therapy, companionship, therapeutic benefits, or to promote emotional well-being are not service animals.

(4)   Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), an individual with a disability is entitled to a service animal to help them live their lives normally. The ADA protects disabled individuals by allowing them to bring their service animal with them to most places that the public is permitted, including restaurants, hotels, housing complexes, and even in air travel. Any breed of dog can be a service dog. Service animals do not have to be professionally trained. The important thing is that the animal is trained to be a working animal and not a pet.

(5)   Service animals are identified by wearing a service animal vest or tag. Owners of service animals are required to possess and/or display the appropriate approved registration documentation to seek and operate under the rights and privileges associated with the service animal rules, regulation and laws.

Severe injury means any physical injury that results in broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery or a physical injury that results in death.

Sterilization means to render an animal incapable of reproduction via a surgical procedure (spay, neuter, castrate, etc.) by a licensed veterinarian.

Summons means:

  • That the Animal Control Officer, at his/her discretion, may elect not to impound an animal found in violation of any section of this chapter, but may instead return the animal to its owner and issue a summons (citation) directing the owner of the animal to appear before the magistrate court on a certain day to stand trial for the violation of this article.
  • If a violation of this article has not been personally witnessed by the Animal Control Officer who issues said summons, then a subpoena may be issued to the person complaining to appear on the day and time set for trial to testify on behalf of the county.

Vaccinate means the proper administration, by a licensed veterinarian, of a specified dose of anti-rabies vaccine into an animal, such vaccine having the U.S. government license number approval stamped on the label of the vaccine container and having been approved by the State Department of Human Resources, or other state agency.

Veterinarian means any person who holds a license to practice the profession of veterinary medicine in the State of Georgia.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-34. – When collar and tag required, dog or cat.

It shall be the duty of each dog or cat owner, possessor, or custodian thereof, to provide a collar for his or her dog or cat to which a current identification tag, complete with the name of the pet telephone number, and address. A current rabies vaccination tag shall also be attached. The collar, together with the tags shall be worn by the dog or cat at all times, except as provided herein. Failure to comply with this section shall be unlawful and shall be punished as hereinafter provided.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-35. – Enforcement.

Enforcement of this article shall be carried out substantially as follows:

(1)   The primary responsibility for the enforcement of this chapter shall be vested in the Board of Commissioners and the County Administrator, by and through the Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor of Butts County, Georgia. The Supervisor may be designated by the County’s Board of Health as the official rabies control authority.

(2)   Upon information made known to, or complaint lodged with the Supervisor or his/her authorized representative, that any owner, possessor, or custodian of any animal is in violation of this chapter, the Supervisor or his/her authorized representative shall investigate such information or complaint. The Supervisor shall not be required to respond to anonymous complaints.

(3)   In the event that the owner, possessor, or custodian of any animal is not known and an animal is upon the public streets, alleys, sidewalks, school grounds or other public places or premises, or upon the property of another without that property owner’s permission, upon complaint made to or information made known to the Animal Control and Welfare Department, it shall be the duty of the Supervisor or his/her authorized representative to immediately take possession of the animal and impound it as herein provided.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-36. – Impounding.

The Butts County Animal Control Officers are hereby authorized to impound any dangerous animal or guard dog not confined, tethered or muzzled as herein provided; any female animal while in estrus (in heat, in season) not restrained within an enclosure, which can reasonably be expected to keep away or not attract male animals of the same species; any animal not wearing the rabies inoculation tag required by the County; and any animal deemed to be a nuisance in Butts County. The animal shall be confined in the Animal Shelter or handled as otherwise provided herein.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-37. – Notice to owners of impounded animals.

(a)   Upon impounding any animal, the Animal Control Supervisor or his/ her authorized representative shall cause a prompt and reasonable effort to be made to locate the animal’s owner, possessor or custodian. Animal Control shall research its recorded data, investigate within the general area of impound, and inquire at local veterinary hospitals and animal control facilities in the attempt to locate the owner, possessor, or custodian of the animal. Upon location thereof, notification of impounding shall be presented to this owner, possessor or custodian. Notification of impound may be verbal, either via telephone or in person. If personal service cannot be obtained, then a letter containing information concerning the impounded animal shall be posted at the last known residence.

(b)   If the animal is not claimed by the owner, possessor or custodian thereof within three (3) business days, or if the impounded animal is not wearing a rabies tag or a tag identifying the name, address, and telephone number of the owner, possessor or custodian, or if the animal does not possess an EAID, then and in that event, the Director or his/her authorized representative may dispose of the animal as provided herein.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-38. – Fees and fines.

The personnel of the Animal Control Shelter shall not release any animal impounded until the owner of said animal has paid all fees and charges assessed as required by Georgia law and by County Health Department rules, unless citations are issued for applicable violations to allow for the animal to be released.

Schedule of Fees

No. Item Amount
1. Dogs or cats
 a. First offense $50.00
 b. Second offense $100.00
 c. Third offense $200.00
 d. Subsequent offense $500.00
2. Other small animals

(rabbits, poultry, reptiles, etc.)

$50.00
3. Large animals

(goats, pigs, horses, cows, etc.)

$200.00
4. Animals impounded for rabies quarantine for the State required ten (10) day period or use in a criminal prosecution $250.00
5. In addition to the foregoing fees, the boarding fee for each day the animal is impounded in the Animal Shelter $20.00
6. Adoption fee for all animals $40.00
7. Owner surrender as follows:
 a. Adult animals—Per animal $25.00
 b. Puppies and kittens—Per animal $20.00
8. Euthanasia $150.00
9. Pick-up fee for Animal Control to pick up animals—Per call $25.00
10. Registration of potentially dangerous animals–Annually paid at the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department Shelter $50.00
11. Registration of dangerous animals—Annually paid at the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department Shelter $100.00

 

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-39. – Failure to claim.

(a)   Any animal, which has been impounded and is not reclaimed by its owner within three (3) business days of the date impounded, shall be subject to adoption, or to euthanasia by humane methods by the personnel of the animal control shelter. If a person other than its owner adopts such animal, it may be released upon payment of the cost of adoption fee.

(b)   Surrendered animals may be made available for adoption or euthanasia immediately, and the above fees shall apply.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-40. – Vaccination and licensing of dogs and cats.

(a)   The owner of each dog or cat over four (4) months of age kept, maintained or harbored within the municipalities or the unincorporated areas of Butts County shall obtain a rabies tag upon vaccination for such dog or cat which shall be affixed to a collar worn by such dog or cat at all times. This provision does not apply to show dogs or cats wherein the wearing of a collar may cause damage to the coat of the animal. Owners of show dogs or cats, should have in their possession the rabies tag where it may be produced on demand of Animal Control personnel.

(b)  Any licensed veterinarian shall be authorized to vaccinate dogs or cats against rabies; provided that, at the time of such vaccination, he/she furnish a vaccination tag issued by the appropriate state agency, bearing an official serial number to the owner. The veterinarian shall furnish a certificate of vaccination for each dog or cat to the owner. The owner must annually provide such certification to the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department and keep a copy for his/her files.

(c)   It shall be unlawful for any person to attach a vaccination tag to the collar of any animal for which it was not issued.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-41. – Rabies cases to be reported.

It shall be the duty of any person knowing of a rabid animal or of an animal showing rabies symptoms, to immediately report such animal to the Animal Control Shelter and the County’s Board of Health (Environmental Health Division) and supply as much pertinent information as possible.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-42. – Quarantine.

(a)   Where rabies has been found to exist in any animal, or where its existence is suspected, the Animal Control and Welfare Supervisor or his/her designee and the County’s Board of Health (Environmental Health Division) may designate an area within which quarantine of all such animals shall be maintained and all such animals shall thereupon be immediately confined to the premises in a manner discussed and approved by state health officials, whether or not such animal has been vaccinated against rabies.

(b)   No animal shall be removed from or brought into a quarantined area or premises without prior approval of the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor.

(c)   Quarantine ordered by the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor shall be maintained for such period, as the Supervisor deems necessary to protect the public health.

(d)   Quarantined areas or premises and areas where rabid animals or animals suspected of rabies remain at large, shall be posted by the Animal Control and Welfare Department with signs which read as follows:

“Rabies Suspected” or “Rabies—Keep Away from Animals.”

Such signs shall be conspicuously displayed in a place designated by the Animal Control and Welfare Department and shall not be defaced or removed except by the Animal Control staff. Only signs approved by the Supervisor shall be used.

(e)   The owner or custodian of each animal subject to a quarantine invoked by the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor or his/her authorized representative under the terms of this regulation shall be notified of the quarantine, the particular animal subject thereto, and shall be given such other information as the Animal Control and Welfare Department Supervisor deems necessary.

(f)    The body of all animals having rabies or suspected of having rabies at time of death shall be submitted to the County’s Board of Health (Environmental Health Division) to await examination procedures, performed by County’s Board of Health personnel, who, if warranted, will perform the task of removing the head of the animal for the purpose of submitting brain tissue for rabies analysis.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-43. – Penalties for violation of article.

Any person violating the terms of this article shall be punished in magistrate court by a fine and/or jail sentence imposed by the judge for each separate violation. Each day the violation continues shall be considered a separate offense.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-44. – Injunctions and claims for damage.

No injunction or claim for damage may be filed against the County, its officers and employees, or the Animal Control and Welfare Department and its employees for alleged wrong-doing arising from the enforcement of this article except upon court order after due notice and proper hearing.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-45. – Kennels.

The following shall constitute a kennel:

Commercial kennel. Any location which provides board and care for dogs, cats or other small animals for pecuniary gain in accordance with Georgia Department of Agriculture Chapter 40-13-13-.07.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-46. – Excessive number of animals.

The maintenance of an excessive number of dogs, cats, or other small animals can be considered a nuisance as defined under section 10-33 of this article. Employees of the Animal Control and Welfare Department maintain the right to interpret and enforce this section.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-47. – Tethering.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any animal or anyone having an animal in his possession and control to restrain or anchor an animal for an excessive amount of time to a stationary object by means of a tether, chain cable, rope or cord. Employees of the Animal Control and Welfare Department maintain the right to interpret and enforce this section.

(1)  Only one (1) animal may be attached to each running cable line or trolley system;

(2)   Tethers and cables attaching the animal to the running cable line or trolley system must be made of a substance which cannot be chewed by the animal and shall not weigh more than five percent of the body weight of the animal tethered;

(3)   A running cable line or trolley system must have a swivel installed at each end and be attached to a stationary object that cannot be moved by the animal;

(4)   The running cable line or trolley system must be at least ten feet in length and mounted at least four feet and no more than seven feet above ground level;

(5)   The length of the tether from the running cable line or trolley system to the animal’s collar should allow access to the maximum available exercise area and allow the animal free access to food, water and shelter;

(6)   Be attached to a properly fitted harness or collar not used for the display of a current rabies tag and other identification; and with enough room between the collar and the animal’s throat through which two fingers may fit. Choke collars and pinch collars are prohibited for the purpose of tethering an animal to a running cable line or trolley system; and

(7)   Be tethered at sufficient distance from any other objects to prohibit the tangling of the cable, from extending over an object or an edge that could result in injury of strangulation of the animal and be of sufficient distance from any fence so as to prohibit the animal access to the fence.

(8) Unsterilized female animals may not be tethered outside of a proper enclosure unless supervised by a responsible and competent person.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-48. – Potentially dangerous or dangerous animal classification procedure.

(a)   Complaint; investigation; notification of owner of classification and right of appeal. When any complaint concerning a potentially dangerous or dangerous animal has been filed with the Animal Control and Welfare Department, or if he/she has received information concerning the attack of an animal on a human being, an Animal Control Officer shall, after any investigation and injuries, notify the owner by certified mail concerning the facts of his investigation that the animal has been classified as a potentially dangerous or dangerous animal and what requirements the owner shall be expected to meet. The Officer shall also notify the owner that he/she may request a hearing to contest the classification within fifteen (15) days from receipt of the notice. If no hearing is requested, the animal’s classification shall go into effect on the fifteenth day.

(b)   Hearing by the County’s Board of Health or Animal Control Board, or the Probate Court of Butts County. If an owner requests a hearing contesting the classification of his/her animal to that of a potentially dangerous or dangerous animal, a hearing must be provided within thirty (30) days of the receipt of the request by the Animal Control Officer.

(c)   Notification of owner of hearing date; presentation of evidence; final determination. The owner must be notified of the hearing date and location by certified mail. During the hearings, the owner may have the opportunity to present any evidence or testimony on their behalf. The final determination must be provided by the county or its duly appointed representative within ten days of the hearing by certified mail to the owner. If the animal is to be given the classification as dangerous or potentially dangerous the effective date of such classification must be given.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-49. – Registration of classified potentially dangerous or dangerous animal.

Animals that have been classified as dangerous or potentially dangerous must be registered by their owners or confiscated by the Animal Control and Welfare Department. To register such an animal, the owners must present or provide evidence to an Animal Control Officer of the following:

  • An enclosure to securely and safely confine the animal such as pen, fence or structure that prevents the animal from escaping and children from getting in. The enclosure must include the following:
  • A securely attached top.
  • The fence bottom embedded no less than twenty-four (24) inches in the ground or attached to a concrete or asphalt floor.
  • Must be constructed of no less than six (6) gauge wire for the sides of the fence.
  • Must have tubing that the fence is attached to no less than eighteen (18) gauges thick.
  • Must be no smaller than twelve (12) feet in length and twelve (12) feet in width, and must be at least six (6) feet in height.
  • Must provide protection from the elements for the animal.
  • Must have a locked gate, that shall remain locked by key or combination lock, except when the owner is tending to the animal.

(2)   A warning sign on the owner’s premises which includes a picture symbol to inform small children about the animal.

(3)   Liability insurance in the amount of $100,000.00.

(4)   An annual registration fee levied by the local government. The annual registration fee shall be an amount as set forth in the schedule of fees and charges.

(5)   The animal must be permanently identified by an EAID, who’s registration must be submitted with the annual registration fee. The annual registration fee and the EAID information must be maintained as specified.

(6)   The animal must be leashed, muzzled, and accompanied by a competent and responsible person when outside of its enclosure.

(7) Owner must notify the Butts County Animal Control and Welfare Department within twenty-four (24) hours if the animal is lost, stolen, sold, given away, euthanized, relocated in any manner, or has escaped its enclosure.

 

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-50. – Regulations for animals registered dangerous and potentially dangerous.

The Animal Control Officers are authorized to make whatever inquiries are necessary to ensure compliance among dangerous and potentially dangerous animal owners of the items listed in section 10-49. Law enforcement agencies are required to cooperate. Animals that are not maintained in compliance with the articles listed in section 10-49 must be confiscated by an Animal Control Officer. An animal that has been confiscated is to be held for twenty (20) days. The owner may regain their animal by complying with requirements and paying an impound fee and boarding fees as set forth in the schedule of fees, as well as any expenses incurred in caring for the animal. If the animal has not been reclaimed by its owner within twenty (20) days, the animal shall be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))

Sec. 10-51. – Unlawful acts.

It shall be unlawful for any person to do any of the following acts:

(a)   Abandon any animal;

(b)   Fail to keep an animal which has been deemed to be a nuisance animal under restraint;

(c)   Fail to provide a collar and display on said collar of the animal a current vaccination tag;

(d)   Fail to provide care for an animal in a humane manner and/or treat any animal in an inhumane manner;

(e)   Allow any animal to become a nuisance as defined in this Ordinance;

(f)    Fail to have any animal vaccinated against rabies;

(g)   Maintain, keep or harbor any dangerous animal in violation of the terms of this ordinance;

(h)   Cruelty to animals;

(i) Fail to have an adopted animal spayed/neutered as per adoption agreement;

(j) Tether an animal outside of the specified guidelines of this chapter;

(k) Fail to pay fees and fines;

(l) Hoard animals as defined in this Ordinance.

 

(Ord. of 3-9-2015(2))