A recent incident involving putrid conditions and cruelty to animals at a Thomson house has drawn a look from the city council into taking a bite out of the problem.
During the July 8th Thomson City Council meeting, city administrator Bob Flanders reported about a recent incident that prompted the concerns.
Mr. Flanders said on June 30, a representative from the health department, an animal control officer, a veterinarian and the police chief visited 415 Dell Drive after repeated complaints from neighbors.
Two days later, 47 dogs and one cat was euthanized because of their condition, according to Mr. Flanders. Inside the house, two dog carcasses were found in a locked room.
"When you find a residence with dog feces all over, there is a problem. While I did not go in the residence, I was told that the conditions were horrid. The Department of Family and Children's Services also got involved because there was a child there," he said.
Mr. Flanders said the renter of the home, Naomi Lewis, was not at home at the time. According to the McDuffie County Tax Office, the owner of the house is Beverly Young. Her husband, Allen Young, said he had no comment Tuesday.
Building-code enforcement officer Gail Newsome said a follow-up inspection will not be made until the conditions inside the residence are dealt with.
"It will probably be next week before we go in and start looking," she said.
Mr. Flanders said the case begs for action by the city to address the problem.
"It kind of highlights very graphically the problems we have," he said. "We have to give serious consideration to a leash law. This is an extreme graphic demonstration that some pet owners do not care for their pets in a proper fashion. Other indicators are the roving bands of dogs led by the female, and we all ride down the streets and see the mangy looking dogs that are not being cared for. That dog is either a stray or is not being cared for by its owner."
Mr. Flanders presented a program used in Sandersville as a possible model.
"It is a community that is similar to ours. They characterize their results as successful and it's something we can look at while we try and establish our own program," he said.
Mr. Flanders, who said he gets several calls a week about stray and neglected animals, said the effort would not be without cost.
"To do this we are going to have to hire some personnel whose task it is to take care of animals and animal complaints. That money will have to come from our tax base," he said.
Currently, there is a dangerous dog ordinance in the city and the county has an animal shelter that is of a voluntary nature.
"No one in the city or county actively picks up stray dogs," said the administrator, "and there is not a rule that requires that dogs be constrained. My suggestion is that if we are going to be a responsible organization, then we have to have the ability to respond to what I have documented as complaints of service (regarding strays and cruelty to animals.)"