Man says deputies told him to decapitate dog or go to jail
Legal action is pending after a Byron man was ordered to behead his beloved dog.
Nate Goodwin has hired Macon attorneys Reza Sedghi and Tom Jarriel after Crawford County sheriff's investigator James Hollis ordered Goodwin to decapitate his dead dog or go to jail.
The Dec. 1 incident in Byron prompted more than 170,000 people to sign an online petition to have Hollis fired.
Goodwin posted videos on Facebook of the episode after his 2-year-old pit-bull mix Big Boy was shot and killed by a deputy investigating a report that a woman had been bitten by the dog.
Big Boy allegedly lunged at the officer who fired the fatal shots.
When Hollis arrived after the dog died, tension escalated when Goodwin was told he had to remove the dog's head for rabies testing.
Goodwin protested, but when he faced with the prospect of going to jail or paying a veterinarian to decapitate the dog, he took a kitchen knife and cut off the dog's head.
Goodwin's girlfriend said she cried all the way to the health department as she brought in the dog's severed head, the petition says.
Georgia Department of Public Health's protocol was not followed, spokeswoman Nancy Nydam told The Telegraph in an email.
The head should have been removed by a veterinarian or a trained animal control officer.
If anyone else had to do it as a last resort, he or she should have worn protective clothing, said Richard Craft, who works for the state health department's environmental division.
Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker sent out a news release Dec. 5 stating that Hollis had been put on administrative leave, but he did not specify whether it was paid or unpaid.
A Telegraph review of Hollis' personnel file shows that before he joined the Crawford County force, he was fired from the Zebulon Police Department after just four months.
Before that, he worked for the Upson County Sheriff's Office from 2002 until 2015.
Hollis resigned six months into his stint at Crawford County, but he was rehired seven months later.
According to a statement from Goodwin's attorneys' office, the lawyers are pursuing all legal remedies available in the case to "hold accountable the egregious conduct of the investigator, who under the threat of incarceration, forced this barbaric and unconscionable act."
Information from The Telegraph archives contributed to this report.