Bibb residents complain about injured dog; animal welfare director says more officers needed

adrury@macon.comMarch 29, 2013 

Bibb County’s director of Animal Welfare said Friday she wants to more than double the number of field officers in her department to 10 by the end of 2014 to ensure quicker response to residents’ calls.

Sarah Tenon said that although four full-time animal control officers are included in her department’s budget, two of the positions are vacant. That’s why, she said, an officer wasn’t available Friday to help a dog that had been struck by a car and was lying on the side of the road for hours.

Just before 9:30 a.m. Friday, Marvin Montford, who lives on Elkan Avenue in Macon’s Bloomfield neighborhood, called the animal shelter about a black female dog that had been hit overnight near his home.

“They said they didn’t have anybody in Bloomfield to take care of it,” Montford said. “I called them twice.”

But nobody from Animal Welfare ever showed up, he said.

Later Friday morning, Vickie Goodroe and her husband, Sid, drove by and saw the dog along the edge of the road. They thought she was dead.

“Then I saw her head pop up, and I told my husband to stop,” Vickie Goodroe said. “There was a lot of blood on the road.”

She tried calling animal control several times, but all she got was a recorded message. The office’s voice mail was full, she said.

“My husband, he was in tears,” she said. “He was trying to call everybody and getting more and more upset. ... My husband was so upset, and I was so upset. We couldn’t get anybody to help.”

Finally, Vickie Goodroe reached Bibb County Commissioner Joe Allen, who got word to Macon Purrs N Paws director Anne Brennaman about the critically injured animal. Brennaman, in turn, picked up the dog and drove her to a veterinarian for emergency care.

Tenon said Friday afternoon she offers no excuses for not having an officer available to pick up the dog.

“It’s really hard,” she said. “We have all of Bibb County to take care of. ... We had back-to-back calls,” including a dog bite case and a report of a vicious dog.

Allen said he plans to push the commission next week to add another telephone line at the shelter and to speed up the hiring process for the two vacant Animal Welfare positions.

“I’m disturbed by this,” said Allen, an avowed animal lover. “Somebody’s not doing their job, and somebody’s got to be held accountable for this. ... To let the animal lay on the side of the road and suffer, that is irresponsible.”

Commission Chairman Sam Hart said Friday afternoon that he agrees with Allen that the two positions should be filled quickly. But he said the commission already has voted to allow Tenon to make the hires.

“I agree 100 percent they need additional staff,” Hart said.

Tenon said her department has been short one field officer for the past month and that another officer left this week. Besides filling the two vacancies, Tenon said she’s been given the green light to hire a dispatcher to take calls from the public, freeing up one of her field officers.

Additionally, Tenon said she plans to ask for two additional officers in the upcoming budget for a total of six. And she hopes to have as many as 10 animal control officers by mid- to late-2014.

“We don’t need 20 or 30, but we do need a good 10 or so,” she said. “We’re going to have to build as we go.”

Although he supports filling the empty jobs, Allen was skeptical Friday that the shelter would ever see 10 officers on the payroll at once.

“A lot of people can dream about things,” he said. “I think we’re going to have to do the best we can with what we’ve got.”

Of course, he said, a new consolidated Macon-Bibb County government would have the ultimate say about adding to the shelter’s payroll.

“You can never tell what the new government will do,” he said.

As for the dog, the black Labrador retriever mix is at Southwood Animal Hospital in Warner Robins.

Linda Carson, the hospital’s manager, said Friday afternoon that the dog is suffering from brain trauma and shock. Carson doesn’t know if she’ll survive.

“We haven’t done any X-rays yet” because any movement is rough on her, she said. “So we don’t know about internal injuries yet.”

Carson said because it was so close to Easter when the dog arrived in the vet’s care, she has been named Bunny.

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