BURKE COUNTY, Ga. (WJBF)– After years of talk, stray animals in Burke County will soon have a place to stay. For the first time, Burke County is starting up an animal services program to spearhead the growing issue.
“A lot of people are really looking forward to having that as a county provided service: Somewhere where animals can go,” Peter Williams, Burke County’s new Animal Services Director said. He the role just two weeks ago, with 13 years of experience in the field.
“We are working on a plan to build a shelter here, so that there is a place for animals to go,” Williams explained. “We are also getting some ordinances. Writing and getting some ordinances passed.”
Right now, there are no local ordinances for animals in Burke County. Williams said he plans to write ones that prevent dogs from going on other’s property, running loose in streets, and destroying property.
“We do need those ordinances here,” Samantha Holton, Founder of Girard Lifesaver Dog Rescue told me. “That is going to cut down a lot on animals causing problems with citizens here. We desperately need an anti-chaining ordinance here. And spay/neutered funding from the county.”
Holten explained she has been operating a licensed rescue in Burke County for 12 years, and she shelters 80 dogs at a time.
“When I asked for funding to fix more animals in Burke County, they did not supply us that money,” She explained, “They gave us $2,000 to spay and neuter, which lasted a total of one month. That is how big the need is here.”
Williams told me that he believes the root of this problem boils down to the lack of knowledge and consideration for others.
“It’s not a matter of putting a cement slab down, and putting two walls up,” Williams said. “There’s planning that is involved in getting a shelter built.”
I asked Williams how long animals will be able to stay in the proposed shelter until they are put down. He said he is not sure who will make that decision, but there is no set time frame, yet.
“This is going to be a kill shelter, meaning, they hold animals three to five days,” Holton said. “If they don’t get out, perfectly healthy animals will be euthanized. I just pray for the dogs of Burke County, and I hope everything is going to be okay.”
If you would like to donate to Girard Lifesaver Dog Rescue, visit their website www.girardlifesaver.or or call (706) 8718273.