Officers Enforcing Macon's Pet Laws with Education | News
Every day, Macon-Bibb Field Enforcement Officers with the Animal Welfare Shelter patrol the streets saving animals from bad conditions and people from a pile of citations.
"We're out there to help them," says officer Nathan Millwood. "We're not out there to hurt anybody. We're out there just to let people know how to take care of their animals, the best way to take care of their animals. You've got to have rabies shots. If their animal is getting out of the fence, we help them figure out where it's getting out of the fence and we sometimes help them try to fix the fence. We're not trying to be the bad guys here."
One of their biggest battles, he says, is educating people on the importance of animal laws instead of just enforcing them.
Shelter director Sarah Tenon says, "We've just got to get the minds of our citizens, not to focus on the leash law from the point of law but that you have a responsibility to keep your animals safe. They're your pets, and just like you need to know where your children are, you need to know where your animals are because they're part of your family."
The animal shelter gets calls on everything from dogs barking too much to pets making their way to neighbors' yards.
The most frequent job Millwood has is giving owners a lesson on how to shelter or tether their pets.
He says, "A lot of people think you can just take your dog and tie it up to a tree or tie it up to a fence. That's illegal. In the city and the county, you can't do it. It's got to be properly tethered, meaning properly tied up. You've got to have it on 15 feet, and it's got to have two swivels."
Bibb County charges $50 for not tethering an animal properly. Macon has a $35 fee. Those are for the first offense.
Right now, Tenon has four officers on the enforcement team. She hopes to at least double that over the next few years.