An on-call officer is available through 911 for response to the following emergencies on weekends, evenings, and holidays:
- Severely sick or injured domestic animals that cannot wait until 8:00 AM the following business day. The on-call officer will not assist with owned animals and owner’s must contact an emergency veterinarian. Animal Control Officers generally do not respond to complaints of injured wildlife.
- Animal Bites. The on-call officer may respond to bite cases in which the bite from a dog, cat or wildlife rabies vector (raccoon, skunk, fox, etc.) has broken the skin of a human victim. The on-call officer may respond to bite cases in which the bite from a wildlife rabies vector has broken the skin of a pet dog or cat. If the biting animal is no longer running at large, the on-call officer may take the bite report over the phone and enforce the quarantine the following business day.
- Aggressive Animals. The on-call officer may respond to complaints of highly aggressive or vicious animals creating a public safety threat which have been verified by on-duty law enforcement personnel.
- Livestock at Large. The on-call officer may respond to complaints of loose livestock on roadways which have been verified by on-duty law enforcement personnel. Animal Control does not possess trailers and generally attempts to locate the livestock owner until a livestock hauler can be contacted.
- Severe Animal Cruelty Situations. The on-call officer may respond to backup requested by Law Enforcement for severe animal cruelty situations which cannot wait until 8:00 AM the following business day.
Animal Control responds to complaints in which a rabies vector (i.e. dog, cat, fox, raccoon, skunk, etc.) has bitten and broken the skin. Animals are quarantined or euthanized and tested according to department policy and the GA Rabies Guidelines. Persons bitten by a dog, cat or rabies vector wildlife should call animal control or 911 to report the bite. Animal Control conducts dangerous/vicious dog investigations under the Georgia Responsible Dog Ownership Law. Owners of dangerous dogs are required to abide by the guidelines contained therein which include annual registration, properly enclosing the dog and posting the property with signs.
Barking Dog Complaints
Walton County Ordinance prohibits the disturbance of the peace by barking animals. Officers may issue warnings and citations to owners of alleged nuisance animals. Barking dog complaints are not handled after-hours or on weekends and holidays. Callers must provide their information and the actual address of the location of the barking dog. The barking dog must be within 200’ of the complaining party’s property and bark for a period of 30 minutes or more.
Animal Cruelty and Neglect
Animal Control investigates allegations of animal neglect and cruelty. The goal of the Department is to change neglectful owners' behavior through education, warning and, in some cases, citation. In order to establish probable cause, callers must provide their information and the exact address of the offense.
Since Animal Control is not fully equipped to conduct thorough equine cruelty investigations, and does not possess an impound facility, equine cruelty investigations are limited. Upon receiving a complaint, officers may be dispatched to assess the validity of the complaint, and refer valid complaints to the GA Department of Agriculture Equine Unit. Callers may also contact the GDA Equine Unit directly at (404) 656-3713.
While tethering dogs is not illegal in the county, Animal Control recognizes that dogs may live better and healthier lives indoors or in fenced yards and supports the efforts of humane groups who assist owners in getting their dogs off chains. Owners that do decide to tether their dog must do so in accordance with local ordinance. The current local ordinance addresses many of the secondary issues which may arise for dogs confined on tethers:
- Owners are required to ensure dogs are tethered by proper collars, and not by chains, ropes, cables or other materials directly around the neck.
- Owners are required to ensure that tethers are adequate length and free from obstruction.
- Owners are required to ensure tethered animals have access to food, water and adequate shelter.
- Owners are required to ensure the area around tethered animals are free from excessive waste.
- Owners are not allowed to tether in-heat female dogs.
- Owners may not tether animals during declared weather emergencies.
- Owners may not tether animals on vacant properties.
There is currently a tethering ban in place in the City of Monroe city limits within Walton County. Complaints can be directed to the City of Monroe Codes Department.
Animal Control does not pick up dead animals. Disposal of dead animals on private property is the responsibility of the property owner. Animal Control can provide callers a list of companies that may be hired for the removal of dead animals. The GA D.O.T., Walton County Public Works Department, and public works departments of incorporated cities (i.e. Monroe, Social Circle, Loganville) may remove large animals from highways, roadways and right-of-ways.
Animal Control possesses a limited number of traps for use in apprehending dogs and cats which are unable to be caught by hand, or run at large outside of regular patrol hours. It is illegal to trap wildlife in Georgia without the proper permits from the GA Department of Natural Resources and traps will not be loaned to citizens for the purpose of trapping wildlife. Animal Control provides trapping services at two different levels:
1. Free Trap Rentals - Animal Control provides traps free of charge to Walton County citizens experiencing stray dog or cat problems or need assistance in catching their own animal. Traps are generally loaned out for a period of one week. It is the responsibility of the trap renter to transport any trapped dog or cat to the animal shelter. Wildlife must be released. Officers do not pick up animals from citizens who have checked out a trap or have trapped an animal in their personal trap.
2. Full Trapping Services - Officers will set traps for stray dogs and cats that frequent a complainant’s property. Traps are rotated throughout the County every two weeks. There is frequently a waiting list ranging from 2 to 8 weeks depending upon time of year. Officers will deliver and set the trap. Residents must monitor and bait the trap and call when a dog or cat is trapped.
Due to the large numbers of free roaming cats, animal control responds to cats on a complaint only basis. Warnings and citations may be issued to owners of free-roaming cats upon compliant. For a citation, complainants may be required to provide a photograph of the cat at large and be willing to appear in court. Citizens with stray cats and kittens may bring the cats to the shelter. Unfortunately, the majority of cats are euthanized. Humane traps are available to citizens to assist in trapping of stray cats.
Citizens may trap and surrender feral cats to Animal Control Monday through Friday (except holidays) from 8:00 to 11:40 AM and 1:00 to 4:40 PM. However, 100% of feral cats are euthanized.
Animal Control recognizes the benefits of managed TNR (trap-neuter-release) programs over trap-and-euthanize and supports the management of sterilized feral colonies where the property owner and adjoining residents approve of the colony. Animal Control supports the efforts of TNR groups and veterinarians offering services for those citizens desiring to sterilize and release a stray cat back onto their property.
Animal Control's primary function is the control of stray dogs and cats and does not regularly respond to nuisance wildlife requests. Officers generally respond only to wildlife bites to a person or pet, and wildlife rabies vectors within the living area of a residence. Animal Control does not respond to complaints of wildlife or snakes in the garage, attic, crawl space, chimney, yard, or out-buildings. Orphaned or injured wildlife should be reported to the GA Department of Natural Resources. Injured deer should be reported to 911 for a law enforcement officer or DNR game warden to destroy the animal by means of a firearm.