Nancy Kay runs a local animal rescue group. She knows leaving pets in hot cars is a problem. “Too many animals die just like children in vehicles at the hands of humans,” said Kay of Southern Souls Rescue.
To help prevent that, last summer Augusta Commissioners approved changes in the Animal Services ordinance to allow public safety officers to break a car window if they see pet in distress, but that ordinance is still not being enforced.
“Nobody is doing anything. Something definitely needs to be done. If it was a child, they would be doing something,” says Kay.
“Yes, we need to do something, George, of course you know we're waiting on legal maybe we need to put it on the agenda and make sure they're still on course with it,” says Mayor Pro-Tem Corey Johnson.
When it comes to the ordinance change, the Law Department says it's not holding things up.
Saying Commissioners wanted approval from public safety officials, like the Fire Chief and Sheriff.
“Again, we're just waiting for those approvals to come back they have been sent out to them we'll be moving forward,” says Augusta Law Department attorney Kenneth Bray.
“We'll be willing to sign off on it once it gets to us,” says Fire Chief Chris James.
So, one of the public safety officials is one board…the Fire Chief is willing to sign off on breaking a window to rescue a pet in a hot car. “Yes,” said James.
The window breaking provision was discussed before the new Sheriff, Richard Roundtree, was sworn in but he's ready to act.
“Especially with the weather and the heat and sometimes animals are in distress, so it would be good that our officers do have the means and authority to rescue the animal. I've looked at it along with my senior administrative staff and we do support the ordinance,” says Sheriff Roundtree.
“That's an excellent move, that's an excellent move,” says Kay.
Sheriff Roundtree says he doesn't want deputies just breaking windows, but says if they see an animal in distress, he thinks the ordinance quote is going to be a good thing. The next step is for these department heads' endorsement to go back to Commissioners to allow them to finally act.