Animal Control under fire after dog dies
by Geoff Folsom
gfolsom@mdjonline.com
April 27, 2012 12:00 AM | 3959 views | 35 35 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Cobb County Animal Control is being criticized after an abandoned dog died and two more were rescued from a Smyrna home by a private citizen.

County spokesman Robert Quigley said the county has taken possession of the dead dog and is “actively investigating” an abuse case.

Quigley said animal control officers first responded to a call for abandoned dogs on Cooper Landing Drive on April 15. At the time, they left a notice after they could not find the homeowners or see or hear any dogs on the scene.

Quigley said animal control officers are prohibited from entering a house without a search warrant.

On April 20, animal control returned on another call that dogs may have been abandoned but didn’t see or hear any dogs or find anybody at home, instead leaving another notice, Quigley said.

Animal control returned again on Tuesday and saw two dogs in the home. They called the home’s owner and left a voicemail.

“At that time, the dogs were not in distress,” Quigley said.

On Wednesday, animal control returned to the home and saw that the dogs were no longer there.

It turns out they had been taken by animal rescuers who found out about the dogs on Facebook from a neighbor. Noelle Galper said she and a friend were able to let the surviving animals out by simply opening the unlocked back door of the duplex.

Galper said the animals appeared to be abandoned for between a month and six weeks. She said she heard from neighbors that the home’s tenant may have come back to feed them periodically at first, but the animals did not appear to be fed for a couple of weeks.

When the rescuers opened the back door, they could see a dead Dalmatian lying near the front door, Galper said.

“Every inch of it had fecal matter,” she said. “There was blood. They were injured.”

The two surviving dogs, one a chocolate Lab and the other that appears to be a mix of a labrador retriever and a hound, are now with a rescue group. The group’s owner, who asked that she not be identified out of concern the county will confiscate the dogs for a court case, said they are recovering but appeared dehydrated and malnourished.

Galper said she was disturbed that the county didn’t act sooner.

“I’ve rescued many animals in the past and said ‘We’ve got to do something,’” she said.

Quigley said that had officers been able to see the dead dog, that likely would have been enough evidence to get a warrant. But because they couldn’t see the animal, they did all they could do.

“This is a sad situation, but there has to be a balance between private property and the county following the law, as well as animal well-being,” he said.
Comments
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Pam J
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May 01, 2012
First, the responsibility for these dogs lies with their owners. They need to be found and arrested. Second, as sad as it is that these dogs apparently suffered, we need to remember that, under normal circumstances, we do not want government officials entering our homes willy nilly. Now, if there were windows that they could look through and see the mess that the neighbor was describing, that should have been a clue that something wasn't right. And while I respect the person that "broke" into the house and took the dogs, maybe they should have called the police before they did that. But if you think about how much you pay in tax to the county, you are really getting what you pay for.
Ignorance is bliss
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April 30, 2012
Animal control officers are not police officers. They are a separate unit from the police and therefore the police are unaware of a situation unless an animal control officer requests police help. Low brow persons such as "A Taxpayer" (unlikely) and "Tex G" should refrain from their comments as it only demonstrates their ignorance and the fact they can't help themselves.
A Taxpayer
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April 30, 2012
Anonymous: The ones that left the animals in the first place apparently owned the house in which they were left. I'm sure they wouldn't be too hard to track down and arrest. That is, if we could get the police in this county to do THEIR job!
anonymous
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April 30, 2012
Seems to me the ones really at fault here are the ones that left the animals in the first place, yet no one has berated them.
Tex G
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April 30, 2012
I will be happy to do that but I figured most folks that read the MDJ were intelligent enough to know that the real criminals are the idiots who dumped these creatures.

Then come the idiots at COBB Animal Out of Control
Tex G
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April 30, 2012
To the defenders of Cobb Animal Control. Have you seen these people lately? DO you know how many animals they kill.

I suggest you get over it. I wont. These people are worthless guvment weenies.
anonymous
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April 29, 2012
Truth is, everyone will find a way to hate the government one way or another, sometimes rightfully so - & sometimes not so much.

These officers have a job to uphold, and in this economy who can afford to lose a job with no promise of when the next opportunity will come along? Animal control officers report to a higher power, and they have guidelines they must follow in order to keep their job.

If there is no warrant, the officer cannot enter the house. It's as simple as that. It's easy to be the outsider saying you would have been the hero, and questioning why the officers didn't open the door. But in reality, those officers are people, and they have responsibilities and families and cannot be FIRED, or realistically even killed, for a tip given by a neighbor.

What happened to these dogs is horrible! There is no question about that. But it just seems that all of this hate and blame is being thrown at the officers, yet not at the actual owners who abandoned the dogs? I believe they are the true culprits.
Lib in Cobb
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April 28, 2012
I would like to offer thanks to Cobb County Animal Control, they were instrumental in helping us with a neighbor's barking, vicious dogs.
anonymous
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April 28, 2012
What a bunch of idiot cooments. The officers cannot enter a home. There is the constitution, but according to your reasoning here, the police should just walk in your house if they think something is wrong. You would go berserk if that happened, but you lose your mind when it deals with an animal. How stupid can people be? No wonder our society is so screwed up.
anonymous
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April 27, 2012
-RE: The group’s owner, who asked that she not be identified out of concern the county will confiscate the dogs for a court case, said they are recovering but appeared dehydrated and malnourished.--

Sad. But we are all learning that we can trust Cobb law enforcement to be as intelligent and reasonable as we can trust the TSA.

The police and prosecutorial powers are running untethered in stupid land. Trust them only after they prove they can be trusted.
Arrest her
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April 28, 2012
The woman that took the dogs should be arrested for burglary and tampering with evidence for failure to turn the dogs (evidence) over to authorities. Talk about a vigilante attitude. Absurd. People need to get their priorities straight!
A Taxpayer
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April 27, 2012
Fire the officers and fire the director! This article exemplifies the typical laziness of the Cobb County Animal Control rent-a-cops. Good for the group that proactively took matters into their own hands when it was clear the county was going to let these dogs suffer and die. All they had to do to save the lives of two dogs was open the unlocked back door! Why didn't animal control officers try that while they were out there? I'll tell you why: those people try hard at NOT working. What else can citizens do besides take matters into their own hands when they see the tax money they pay for such services is being WASTED!
Another Taxpayer
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April 29, 2012
"All they had to do to save the lives of two dogs was open the unlocked back door! Why didn't animal control officers try that while they were out there?"

Animal Control officers did not try that while they were out there for one simple reason: without a warrant, if there were a homeowner present the officer could have been, legally, shot and killed for breaking and entering. Just as those "proactive" citizens could have been. An unlocked door plays no part in the matter. If your door were unlocked, would we be allowed to peruse your home at our own will?

Good day, Sir.

Lib in Cobb
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April 27, 2012
I have a great deal of respect for Cobb County Animal Control and I wish to publicly thank them for assisting us a few years ago with a neighbor's baking vicious dogs.

Judge Cox decided in our favor.

Thank you Cobb County Animal Control and thank you Judge Cox.
Former ACO
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April 27, 2012
Here's the definition of abandonment in the Cobb ordinances which the Cobb AC is supposed to be enforcing.



Abandonment (of an animal) means the act of any person who: (1) Abandons an animal by leaving an animal unattended for a period of time in excess of 24 hours without food, water, adequate ventilation or shelter on public or private property, including but not limited to the property of the owner/custodian;

When they left notification on the door on April 15 the owner had 24 hours to contact AC. When they did not respond in that time a warrant should have been obtained and the dogs confiscated.

The officers should be written up and or fired.
Tex G
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April 27, 2012
These people should all be FIRED. This is a joke. This is the doofus repository for all the rent a cops that cant make the force or win a donut eating contest.

We need to take better care of animals. Having said that we cant even seem to get parents to take care of their kids so there is little if any hope for the pets.

What a disgrace and a sin. God watches how we treat the least of those amoung us. Guess what? Cobb Animal Control/Cobb Country Flunked Again. No surprise.
To Tex
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April 27, 2012
Cobb Animal Control complied with the US Constitution and passed with flying colors. Sometimes bad stuff happens. Get over it!
ol' retired doc
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April 27, 2012
Cobb County seems to have an "excuse department" on

duty 24-7 and you can say one good thing about it:

It's the most efficient branch of county government.
anonymous
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April 27, 2012
Yep. Except they still have not come up with an excuse for why they killed Matt Murdock...its been over one year.
TheTruthHurts1579
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April 27, 2012
First of all the Animal control units overtime budget was cut two years ago so they get no overtime. Second of all when your child gets bit on a sunday and the dog goes and runs off how is an action going to be taken if there are no officers around. Articles like this piss me off because that concerned person who freed the dogs broke the law. Its called breaking and entering and theft by taking. You cant just walk into anyones house whenever you want and take whatever you want that lady should be in jail and if those were my dogs and house Id be pressing charges. Thats why the officers cant just break down the door and take the dogs because they need a warrant to enter a home and warrants are rare if not unheard of in animal control world.
Tex G
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April 27, 2012
Sounds like you are gunning for the job as head honcho at the Excuse Dept. Please spare me.
KSUAlum
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April 27, 2012
IF those were your dogs you'd be going to jail for neglect.
TheTruthHurts1579
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April 27, 2012
No actually I wouldnt because that rescue group has both dogs that they stole and animal control couldnt use them as evidence on court for a cruelty confiscation because hey guess what the rescue group wont say who they are or turn them in because they know there in deep trouble for stealing them.
anonymous
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April 27, 2012
RE: Articles like this piss me off because that concerned person who freed the dogs broke the law. Its called breaking and entering and theft by taking. You cant just walk into anyones house whenever you want and take whatever you want that lady should be in jail and if those were my dogs and house Id be pressing charges.--

And we don't want to break the law if it means that we might protect an innocent doggie.

God. This is the mindless thought process of a government worker. Doing what is needed to protect an animal can't be done because there is a law against....and sadly a cop and prosecutor who will try to put the government worker in jail if they do take action. It is the mindset that allows the results of government worker involvement to be so commonly useless that you have to say "why the heck do we have government workers?"

KSUAlum
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April 27, 2012
Thats pretty pathetic of Animal Control. I also feel that the neighbors are to blame, how could they just leave those animals to die? Posting about it on Facebook doesn't really count as helping them
Samuel Adams
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April 27, 2012
I suppose Animal Control was too busy sitting on my street at 8:45 am last Sunday morning with the engine running to pay attention to the dying animals.

How much overtime do you think the county might save if these guys weren't sitting in quiet suburban neighborhoods (where we take care of our animals) early on a Sunday, wasting their gas? I bet lots. Get on this Timmy...I say, more money for the animals, less Sunday hours for county employees.
Just Wait
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April 27, 2012
I'd bet if you child got bitten by a dog at 8:45 on s Sunday morning, you would be demanding that an animal control officer respond immediately. Did you ever think that some of these employees work on weekends and are off during the week?
anonymous
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April 27, 2012
If my kid was bitten, I'd be asking what the heck did my kid do to antagonize the dog. More parents should do the same.
mk - be honest
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April 27, 2012
Seems government employees just don't know how to THINK for themselves anymore.

If it's not outlined for them,.. they are totally lost!

This makes me sick!
south cobb
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April 27, 2012
This is the type of workers you get now, with no pay raise in five years. The new fulton county.
easytosaynow
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April 27, 2012
This article could have been about animal control officers entering a home illegally and being caught inside the house when the homeowner returned or worse being shot by a homeowner when they thought someone was breaking in to their house. Hindsight is always 20-20. It is so easy to say they did the wrong thing now just as it would have been easy to say they never should have gone inside without a search warrant if the homeowner caught them inside their house without one.

Government employees are no different than the general public. You have great ones, good ones, and poor ones. Those that use broad strokes to explain a group of people don't seem to have enough sense to differentiate. Lumping all government employees together in a derogatory manner is just as wrong as lumping all people who comment on here as smart.
Our Constitution
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April 27, 2012
The animal control officers "thought" just fine. They followed the Constitution of the United States. They cannot just break into any home on the uncorroborated word of a neighbor.

anonymous
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April 27, 2012
Our constitution, I promise you if your house was on fire and your dogs were inside, I would bust that door down and do what I could to help those dogs...and I would also know that in our great country we all recognize circumstances in which persons actions, which technically violate the law, are in fact excused ( but don't count on the police Cobb County prosecutors to see it that way...government workers are funny that way).
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