Local people rally for animal rights

A new animal ordinance went into effect at the start of 2017, but these animal rights activists say it's not doing enough.
A new animal ordinance went into effect at the start of 2017, but these animal rights activists say it's not doing enough.

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF)-  A new animal ordinance went into effect this year in Richmond County that prohibits pet owners from chaining up their dogs while unattended. But after a tethered dog died about a week ago, activists say the ordinance isn’t making the kind of difference they want to see.

Several activists organized a rally at Augusta Animal Services Saturday afternoon. Most of these people met on Facebook, where they joined forces over their dismay at the abuse of animals in the area.

“Today we’re here to rally for animals and animals in the area due to the fact that there are many abused animals in this area and a lot of animlas that are homeless,” said Delaney Davis.

A volunteer at Augusta Animal Services tells NewsChannel 6 it took six years to pass a new animal ordinance that prohibits chaining up dogs when their owners aren’t present.

But animal rights activists say it’s not doing enough.

“We saw three dogs on chains in the backyard. Nobody around. And that’s not supposed to happen of the first of January,” said Janet Chenoweth, who lives in Hephzibah, Ga. “But…they’re not going to enforce the law. They say they can’t, so why did they pass the law?”

Those at animal services say they don’t have the resources to intervene in every case.

“As far as enforcement goes, there are only four full-time field officers for a county this size, so they are understaffed,” said Sheena Dorsey. who is a volunteer and advisory board member at Augusta Animal Services. “And if anybody wants to report anything, they can always videotape. They can take pictures so that the staff here is aware how long dogs are being tethered.”

Under the ordinance, owners get a 30 day warning period for illegally tethering their animals. Protesters say that’s too long. They point to a dog that recently died while chained outside.

But those at animal services say they don’t make the laws– they just enforce them, and they’re doing the best they can.

“What these people don’t understand is that Augusta Animal Services is a government entity, and they must follow laws,” Dorsey said.

Those at the rally say they are looking at ways to raise money for animal services. Those at Animal Services say volunteering would be more effective than rallying.

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