Augusta, GA -
As the weather gets warmer, more pet owners are breaking the law and letting their dogs off the leash. But, that freedom could come with a big price. A price that could include a fine or a life. News Channel Six's Dee Griffin explains why doing that could cost you.
Instead of walking outside to play with his dog "hershey," Brad Stewart slowly walks to visit his dog's grave. Stewart says his beloved dog died earlier this week after two pit bulls wandered into the backyard. "About 11:30 I heard my dog yelp and I came to the back door. One was eating his food and the other one had my dog in his jaws," he reflects.
Due to his size, Hershey wasn't a match for the pit bulls and by the time Stewart came to his rescue the damage had been done. Stewart explains, "they dropped my dog and he ran into the house and I found two puncture marks on his side. I took him to the vet the next day and they did all they could do."
The vicious dogs are becoming part of an equally vicious cycle as the weather gets warmer and owners let their dogs roam free. So, we went to Augusta Animal Services Center to find out what's being done about animals that are not on leashes. The Director of Animal Services refused to do an on-camera interview but she handed News Channel 6 a document outlining the legal responsibilities of pet owners. She says the center is adamant about leash laws. The animal services ordinance says "It shall be unlawful for any dog to be upon the public streets, except on a leash and accompanied by an individual, or except when enclosed within a vehicle, cage, carton, crate, box or other suitable container to prevent escape.
Failure to obey the law could cost one owner a fine and another pet parent, like Stewart, a life. "I can understand some people like to have vicious dogs or big dogs like that for their own protection but they don't need to be roaming the neighborhood," says Stewart. Dogs caught roaming without a leash can be taken away by animal control officers and the owners will face a fine.