Montgomery Co. still without animal control officer, shelter after breeder bust

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MONTGOMERY, COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – It’s been months since hundreds of dogs were rescued from terrible living conditions in Montgomery and Candler counties, but so far only one county has made improvements to their animal services.

Since the story unfolded in January, the owner of the two alleged puppy mills, Angela Powell, has been charged in both counties.

But, unlike Candler County, Montgomery has yet to pass any ordinances addressing tethering, and providing adequate food and water for outside pets.

“Dogs show up and you just kind of take care of them, there’s no one to call,” said John Marshall, the field operations officer for Guardians of Rescue.

Under the direction of Guardians of Rescue, a group based out of New York, Marshall has been working in Montgomery County for three months.

“Our goal is to help both the community and the animals of the community,” said Marshall. “You know, dogs get hit by cars—roaming free. There needs to be some changes to the tethering laws, but there also needs to be some containment laws and they need to be able to be enforced.”

He took drone footage that shows nearly 40 dogs on one property—all chained to blue buckets. 

“The sheriff’s department, they’re doing the best they can. But when you only have two deputies on a shift, they can’t handle this much,” Marshall said. “So the only solution is to get an animal control officer and an animal shelter.”

Greg Palmer, a Montgomery County Commissioner, said he’s been working with other commissioners to get a shelter in the area.

“‘You know I used to be in education to kids, we don’t  just got to teach them this little bit.’ You know… instead ‘Let’s do all we can do and at the same time look out for the taxpayers in the process,” said Palmer.

Along with passing ordinances addressing tethering—Marshall also believes existing shelter laws should be clearer.

“There’s nothing that specifies what’s a shelter in these laws either—there’s nothing that defines them,” he explained. “So if you flip a wheelbarrow over on the side of a tree and you’ve got a dog chained to it, someones going to argue, ‘Well that’s shelter,’ and that’s not okay.”

The board of commissioners has a listening session on dog control services scheduled for May 7. In a notice posted in the local paper, they also mentioned the possibility of a tax increase to fund those services.

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