SCSO Investigates Dog Incident

Stephens County Sheriff Randy Shirley says authorities have completed an investigation in to an incident involving a dog recently in the county.

WNEG received concerns that were also posted on social media regarding someone who had allegedly castrated a dog on their own.

The sheriff says after meeting with Magistrate Judge Don Tabor, authorities have determined that there is not enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case.

Shirley says the following determinations were made after meeting with the magistrate judge:

• That the animal was returned to the owner by animal control after a brief observation period, indicating that there was not a concern about the future safety and well being of the animal on the part of animal control.

• That the owner in this case has a history of employment in the medical field and took steps to reduce any possible pain felt by the animal, as well as steps to ensure that no infections occurred.

• There is no direct evidence supporting the dog felt any particular level of pain during or after the procedure.

• Inspection of the animal on the night of the incident showed the animal appeared to be in good health other than a small incision where the procedure was performed, adding that current inspection found the animal still in good health and with no signs of lasting trauma or infection.

According to state law, animal cruelty is defined as when a person “causes death or unjustifiable physical pain or suffering to any animal by an act, an omission, or willful neglect.”

Also, county codes define cruelty as “every act, omission or neglect whereby unjustifiable pain, suffering, maiming or death may be caused or permitted to any animal.”

However, Shirley says that while there may not be enough probable cause for a criminal charge in this particular case, he would like to remind everyone that this is not a procedure that just anyone should undertake.

The sheriff says for the safety and comfort of the animal, he encourages people to seek the services of a veterinarian, adding there is always the possibility of complications and infections.

At the current time in Stephens County, any animal control citations are being written by the Sheriff’s Office or the Toccoa Police Department because of concerns that were raised last year regarding whether the county’s animal control officer was sworn in and had proper authority to issue citations.

Stephens County Commission Chair Dennis Bell says that is an issue the county is still looking at.