SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Chatham County Animal Services took two dogs from their owner on Friday after video of a crated pitbull spread on social media.
“It’s painfully obvious that that is neglect… in this heat, there is absolutely no excuse at all,” said Dr. Jerry Williams, the owner of Animal Care 24/7 on Whitemarsh Island.
For that reason, Williams, Speaking Loudly and Often for Animals (SLOA) and a few other animal advocates urged county officials to remove the dog from the residence in Windsor Park, a neighborhood on Savannah’s southside.
Williams says the dog’s panting, overturned water bowl and excessive heat were signs that officers needed to step in. Advocates also said they have reported incidents of neglect at the home several times.
A 2017 Chatham County Animal Ordinance says the following about housing animals:
News 3 was there on Tuesday when an animal services officer checked in with the dog owner’s brother. The owner’s brother told News 3 the dog is always safe, shaded, and has enough water. He did not have a comment after the officer left the home.
On Wednesday, the owner of the dog got in contact with WSAV. The owner says his dog spends time outside while he is at work, but is taken inside as soon as he gets home. He says his dog is well-fed and covered when he is sitting outside. He says activists took the short video out of context and refused to remedy the situation face-to-face.
The owner says his neighbors have been harassing him over the video. For that reason, he says he has been unable to file a police report. He declined a request for an interview because he believes he has done nothing wrong and would never hurt an animal.
“In most investigations, … first, we assess the situation and determine the condition of the animal. If we got a dog that’s not in dire conditions, if it’s otherwise a normal healthy dog, the first step is to educate the owners,” said Dr. Jake Harper, the director of Chatham County Animal Services, of the process.
On Thursday, Chatham County Animal Services confirmed that the dog is safe and that they are working “within the bounds of the law to educate and ensure the owner comes into compliance with Chatham County Ordinances.”
But Friday, the agency conducted a welfare check and decided it was necessary to take further action, removing the pitbull and another dog from the home. The owner was also cited.
Officials say this case will now go to court.
If you see questionable posts online, Harper says it is important to report it to Chatham County Animal Services to make sure the right people receive the complaint.
“The most important part of it is, give us a call. If you email or if you call, then that should be enough,” said Dr. Harper.