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Animal rescue group runs afoul of county rule

An animal rescue group operating in Fayette County has been asked to cease its operations because it is violating the county ordinance limiting residents to three pets per home.

Love-A-Pet Inc. on Den Creek Trail in unincorporated eastern Fayette County was inspected recently after a complaint was lodged with the county marshal’s office. There were more than 10 pets on the premises, a violation of the county ordinance, said County Manager Jack Krakeel.

Love-A-Pet president Joyce Woodall, who runs the volunteer organization out of her home, said tonight she does not intend to back down and will risk being issued a citation as of Tuesday. That’s the final date of a 30-day grace period the county marshal’s office gave Love-A-Pet to come into compliance with the ordinance.

Woodall said a county marshal has warned her she could be issued a separate citation for each day her home is in violation of the ordinance.

Supporters of Love-A-Pet spoke to the county commission Thursday night, imploring commissioners to somehow make an exception for an organization that temporarily takes in dogs and cats, helps heal them, and then adopts them to loving families.

The commission nor staff addressed the concerns during the meeting, as the comments were made during the public comment portion of the meeting as the matter was not on the commission’s agenda for the evening.

Fayetteville resident Carol Gilbert recalled how Woodall personally corralled 11 puppies born by wild dogs in the Kenwood business park area.

“Those momma dogs were guarding their puppies, but she got on the ground and rolled over and earned those dogs’ trust like she was one of them,” Gilbert said. “... I’m telling you she has the most special power with animals you’ve ever seen. If you’d have seen her rolling on the ground, you’d have called the funny farm.”

The result was that the momma dogs recovered and all 11 puppies found good homes, Gilbert said.

It was also acknowledged that defendants from the court system perform community service by cleaning litter boxes and other chores for Love-A-Pet.

“It tears my heart strings to see these animals may be lost because of actions by this county to close her down,” said resident John Simon. “I implore you as our representatives to do what you can to see if there’s a way we can keep this fine facility open that serves our community.”

After the meeting, Commission Chairman Jack Smith said he sympathized with Love-A-Pet’s predicament, but said the county can’t decide to make an exception for one group without facing potential exceptions from other groups and residents.

Smith said the ideal solution would be for an animal lover who has a vacant commercial building to step forward and help provide a new home for Love-A-Pet.



dawn69's picture

I adopted my black lab, who has one bad eye, from Joyce three years ago. She often rescues the animals that have medical needs or deformations that make them "undesirable" to most prospective pet owners. She also rescues the dogs from the shelter's "kill list". She has a huge heart and simply can not turn away an animal in need.

Would any of you be interested in adopting?

<"The most beautiful things in life cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart." - Helen Keller>

ginga1414's picture

He didn't sympathize very much. I am sick and tired of experiencing, hearing about, reading about and knowing about situations like this one concerning our commissioners! What do they think? Do they think that an animal rescue group is going to pop up on every corner of Fayette County and want to save animals? Here are these wonderful people out there saving the unloved and unwanted all the while saving the taxpayers money. These good people are performing a public service for this community and our commissioners can't even cut them the slightest amount of slack.

I wonder if Jack Smith has ever cared for a sick or injured animal? I wonder if he has ever spent many sleepless nights caring for or tending to a sick animal? The folks with Love-A-Pet are kindred spirits to all true animal lovers. Something has to be done to help these folks. Does Jack have any idea how much it costs to feed and care for animals and these folks are doing it on their own?

Love-A-Pet goes before our commission pouring out their hearts and souls and the only reciprocal communication they receive is find an animal lover to donate a vacant commercial building?

CombatCorrespondent's picture

Love-A-Pet goes before our commission pouring out their hearts and souls and the only reciprocal communication they receive is find an animal lover to donate a vacant commercial building?[/quote]

As an animal lover and someone who works quite a bit with rescue, I understand the hard work that Love_A-Pet does for the animals.

It's great that they are "pouring out their hearts and souls" but that's not enough. The commission can't make exceptions to the law based on emotion. They have to make decisions based on the law and what is fair to everyone.

Give the commission something in black and white. Show them why they should make this exception for you, but not for the next group that asks for an exception.

If they make this exception for you, it opens a Pandora's Box of possible future issues. It sets a legal precedent for any other group that wants an exception for their cause. It sets the county up for legal action.

Rather than attacking the council with emotions, try to have the law changed. Try to have the three pet limit rescinded or changed to maybe five like it was before, when an overzealous animal control director persuaded the former county commission to change it?

Get something in writing that can apply to everyone accross the board and is enforceable and sensible.

ginga1414's picture

You have a lot of good thoughts and I completely agree with what you are saying. I just hope we can do something to help the folks who are diligently trying to help the animals and community before it is too late. Government officials seem to move at a snail's pace when it comes to some issues and they move with breakneck speed when it soots them. I guess I better stop here because I feel a diatribe coming on.

RKS's picture

Seems there is more to this story. How about we expand the shelter, give the dogs a fenced in yard to play in and provide some SPLOST funding so that they can take in owner surrenders instead of making it so that rescue groups like Joyce Woodall and others are burdened with all the homeless pets that people dump in this county because there is no place to take them. How about funding some low cost spay neuter clinics! How about some of you businesses offer up a building with utilities paid for Joyce and others to house the strays? Instead of shutting her down, offer solutions. Let's be a dog friendly town.

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