Possible Future Animal Control Services

A slew of dog bites and dogs at large calls has kept the Bradley County Sheriff’s Department extremely busy the past few weeks.

Sheriff Eric Watson, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office said, "That has taken away from my deputies working serious crime such as burglaries and catching thieves." The Sheriff’s Office responds to more than 10 calls each day. Sheriff Watson said, "Summertime is here. People are playing in the yard, they are riding bicycles, kids are out of school, our senior citizens are out walking the streets now because of the beautiful mornings and there’s a few people that don’t believe in the Leash Law."

The Sheriff wants to do everything he can to prevent anyone else from getting hurt. The county had animal control services until March 20-13 when the contract with the City of Cleveland was not renegotiated by the County Commission. And the Sheriff’s Office is not set up to provide animal control. Dan Rawls, Bradley County Commissioner 6th District said, "Bradley County has a Leash Law. The problem is, if the officer arrives at the address and the dogs are not out when he gets there, then it’s difficult for them to do anything." And the current set up has left some Bradley county residents unhappy. Dustin Phillips, Cleveland resident said, "It’s a big problem."

The Bradley County Commission has asked Sheriff Watson to provide several proposals for animal control which will include dealing with strays and enforcing the existing laws. In the meantime, Rawls said the responsibility will always fall on the dog owner regardless. Rawls said, "You need to spay and neuter your pets. You need to make sure your pets are restrained when they need to be. And you are responsible for that. It’s not the Government’s job to do that for you. It’s your responsibility to do it."

Deputies will locate the owner’s dog and issue a warning the first time around. If they fail to restrain their dog, the owner of the animal will receive a written citation and be charged with a class "C" misdemeanor.

Categories: Local News

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