Chapter 18 – ANIMALS
ARTICLE 1. – IN GENERAL
- Sec. 18-1. – Definitions The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:Abandoned animal means an animal that has been intentionally or willfully deserted by its owner or custodian by the placing of the animal upon public property or within a public building or upon or within the private property of another without the express permission of the owner, custodian or tenant of the private property and is unattended or uncared for.Abandonment means the intentional or willful forsaking of any animal by its owner, custodian or person responsible for the care of an animal, without making reasonable arrangements for the adequate care and custody of the animal to be assumed by another person or the failure to return and resume responsibility of an animal at the designated time as arranged with the care giver, to include failing to reclaim an animal from the animal control shelter.Adequate care means exhibiting attention to the needs of an animal, including but not limited to, the provision of food, water, shelter, sanitary, safe and healthy conditions, and adequate and timely veterinary medical attention necessary to maintain good health for the specific age, size, species, and breed of animal.Adequate food means sufficient quantity of non-contaminated and nutritionally healthy sustenance that is appropriate to the species, breed, size, age and health of the animal, or at the direction of a licensed veterinarian; which is sufficient to prevent starvation, malnutrition, or risk to the animal’s health. Garbage, spoiled, rancid, or contaminated food is not adequate food.Adequate shelter means a protective covering for an animal that is of adequate size and provides adequate protection to maintain the animal in a state of good health, and that prevents pain, suffering, or significant risk to the animal’s health. It should also be clean, dry, and compatible with current weather conditions. The structure should be sufficient size to allow the animal to stand, turn around, lie down, and go in and out of the structure comfortably.Adequate veterinary care means medical care of an animal from or under the direction of a veterinarian and necessary to maintain the health of an animal based on the age, species, breed, etc., of the animal, or to prevent an animal from suffering from:(a)Ongoing infections;(b)Infestation of parasites;(c)Disease; or(d)Any other medical condition/injury where withholding or neglecting to provide such care would:1.Endanger the health or welfare of the animal; or2.Promote the spread of communicable diseases.Adequate water means clean, fresh, drinkable water sufficient to prevent dehydration and properly sustain health presented in a clean dish, free from contamination. Examples of inadequate water include, but are not limited to, snow, ice, and rancid/contaminated water.Animal at large means an animal not under restraint or voice control and off the property of its owner. If an animal has no known owner or keeper, then it shall be considered “at large” when on any public or private property.Animal control officer means a person employed and authorized by the governing authority or by law to enforce the provisions of this chapter.Animal control shelter means the facility designated by the board of commissioners for the impoundment, restraint, care, detention and disposition of animals.Certificate means a certificate of vaccination on a form furnished or approved by the Georgia Department of Public Health.Fence means:(a)Structure of wire, wood, stone, or other materials which is of sufficient height and strength to act as a barrier against passage of the animal or animals it is intended to enclose.(b)Invisible containment systems in which a collar provides an electric shock which prevents an animal from leaving the property of its owner provided the animal is a dog which is neither classified as vicious or dangerous nor in estrus. If an invisible containment system is in use:(1)A sign must be visibly posted on the property indicating that the system is in place.(2)The system must effectively restrain the animal.Owner means any natural person or any legal entity owning, keeping, harboring, possessing, or having custody or control, or acting as caretaker or custodian of any domesticated animal, having a right of property in an animal, or any person who permits an animal to remain on his premises within Rockdale County. An animal shall be deemed to be harbored if it is fed and/or sheltered for seven or more consecutive days, unless ownership is understood to have been willingly taken through adoption, foster, purchase, and/or other acceptance of responsibility.Proper enclosure means an enclosure that meets all of the following criteria:(1)A structure which is suitable to prevent the entry of young children and to prevent the dog from escaping;(2)A structure with secure sides and a secure top attached to all sides;(3)A structure whose sides are so constructed at the bottom so as to prevent the dog’s escape by digging under the sides. The sides must either be buried two feet into the ground or sunken into a concrete pad;(4)A structure which provides appropriate protection from the elements for the dog. The structure must contain adequate shelter inside it;(5)A structure which is inside a perimeter or area fence;(6)The gate to the structure shall be of the inward-opening type and shall be kept locked except when tending to the animal’s needs such as cleaning the kennel or providing food and water.Rabies vaccination tag means a tag furnished or approved by the Georgia Department of Public Health and which tag shall be worn by the vaccinated dog at all times.Spay/neuter certificate means documentation that certifies that the animal listed therein has been sterilized as of the date of surgery.Sterilized animal means an animal that has been surgically or chemically altered by a licensed veterinarian in order to render the animal incapable of reproduction.Vaccinate, inoculate shall mean the injection of a specified dose of anti-rabies vaccine by a veterinarian into the proper sit of an animal, such vaccine having the U.S. Department of Agriculture Veterinary Biologies Control Section License number approval stamped on the label of the container and having been approved by the Georgia Department of Public Health.Vaccine means an injectable material containing killed or attenuated rabies virus, licensed by the United States Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Biologies Section, and approved by the Georgia Department of Public Health. Vaccine used for the purpose of this rule shall be stored at the temperature prescribed on the purchase label. Outdated vaccine shall not be used.Veterinarian shall mean any person who holds a degree of doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM).(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-2. – Interpretation of chapter; conflicting provisions. Where there is a conflict among articles or sections within this chapter, the article or section which is more restrictive shall apply.(b)Definitions in one article of this chapter may be used to define terms in other parts of this chapter unless it is clear from the context that the definition does not apply.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-3. – Adoption of article by municipalities within county boundaries. In accordance with state law, the Rockdale County board of commissioners may enter into agreements with the municipalities located within territorial limits of Rockdale County, Georgia to provide animal control services within the corporate limits of such municipality. Pursuant to such agreement, any municipality in the county may adopt this article. Any municipality adopting this ordinance must authorize the enforcement of the municipal ordinance by the Rockdale County Animal Care and Control. Municipal ordinances must provide that the incorporated areas shall be subject to the fees charged by Rockdale County Animal Care and Control and that all fees charged by the Rockdale County Animal Care and Control shall be retained by the county.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-4. – Fees. Where not otherwise specified, fees and costs referred to in this chapter shall be established from time to time by the board of commissioners and posted publicly at the animal control shelter. The fees established and collected under this chapter are not penalties but are imposed for the sole purpose of defraying expenses borne by the county for animal control and welfare under this chapter. Any such moneys received in connection with the enforcement of this chapter shall be paid to the county.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-5. – Training guard or protection dogs. It is unlawful to train and/or own a guard or protection dog, unless the trainer/owner holds a state kennel license, a county business license, and maintains at all times either a policy of insurance or a surety bond in a minimum amount of $100,000.00 to cover claims for any personal injuries inflicted by the dog or dogs being trained, which policy or surety bond shall be issued by an insurer or surety, as the case may be, authorized to transact business in this state.(b)It is unlawful to train a guard or protection dog on public property, including, but not limited to public parks.(c)For the purposes of this section, ‘guard or protection dog’ means any dog trained for the purpose of protecting individuals from assault and/or preventing property loss or damage.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-6. – Penalty. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, any person who does anything prohibited or fails to do anything required by this chapter, upon issuance of a citation and conviction of the violation in a court of competent jurisdiction, shall be subject to fine and/or imprisonment in accordance with section 1-11 of the Code of Rockdale County, Georgia. Should the penalty for an ordinance violation be modified by Georgia law, such modification shall become automatically effective with the respect to this section.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Secs. 18-7—18-10. – Reserved.
ARTICLE 2. – ANIMAL CONTROL
- Sec. 18-11. – Animals creating nuisances. It shall be unlawful for the owner of an animal or the individual in possession of the property upon which the animal is located at the time of the offense to allow that animal to bark, whine, howl, crow, or cause other sound or noise for a sustained period of time which is plainly audible to a person of ordinary hearing ability provided, however, that no conviction of this offense shall occur if the evidence demonstrates that, at the time the animal is emitting such sound or noise, a person is trespassing or threatening to trespass upon property in or upon which the animal is situated or if the noise is the result of an intentional provocation by another person. An animal for the purposes of this section shall include but not be limited to dogs, cats and fowl.(b)For the purposes of this section, the term “sustained period of time” shall be defined as a period of time during which the animal barks, whines, howls, crows or makes noise continuously and/or incessantly for a period of 15 minutes or more, or makes such noise intermittently for 30 minutes or more.(c)No person shall be found guilty of a violation of subsection (a) of this section unless such person shall have been given notice of the disturbing noise in accordance with the following procedure:(1)Upon determination by any person that a violation of the provisions of subsection (a) of this section has occurred or is occurring, such person or his agent shall file a report to animal care and control which shall include the name, address, and phone number of the person filing the report; violators address, animal description and detailed complaint. An animal control officer shall respond to the complaint by leaving written or verbal warning with the violator.(2)Subsequent to filing a complaint as set out in subsection (c)(1) of this section, the complainant video the animal making such disturbances for a period of 15 minutes or longer or intermittently for 30 minutes or more. This video is recommended that complainant take recording from deck or window of the complainant’s home. The complainant cannot provoke the animal during the video recording. Audio proof will not be accepted.(3)Along with the video proof of the disturbances the complainant shall keep a log over a period of seven days detailing the animal disturbances. The complainant or his agent shall bring video proof and copy of the log to animal control for review.(4)Once animal control reviews video proof and log it will be up to the animal control division manager or his/her designee to determine if proof will be substantial to issue citation for the violation. If animal control finds the proof to be substantial, then a citation will be issued to the violator/animal owner and a subpoena will be issued to the complainant. Animal control cannot stand trial or serve as a witness for this violation.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-12. – Duty of owner to keep dog under control. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or anyone having a dog in their possession and control to allow the dog to run at large or permit the dog to be out of control unattended on or about the streets, right-of-ways, and/or highways of Rockdale County; in any park, except in county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas; unattended on or about the common property of any apartment complex or condominium community; or on the property of another person without permission of the owner or occupant of that property.(b)For purposes of this section, a dog is considered to be under control if it is within the property limits of its owner or custodian, confined within an enclosure and under the immediate supervision of a responsible party, controlled by a leash, is at heel, or is beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s commands. Dogs left on the owner’s or custodian’s property unsecured, unconfined, or unattended are not deemed to be under control and are subject to impoundment.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-13. – Duty to restrain dog while off property. A dog shall be on a leash and under the control of a competent person while off of its owner’s property. This shall include all public areas and parks, except in county parks that are specifically designated as off leash areas; unattended on or about the common property of any multi-family residential dwelling complex community; or on the property of another person without permission of the owner of that property. This shall also apply to dogs engaged in an approved dog show, agility, or other event requiring the dog to perform while off leash but under the control of the handler. This section shall not apply to dogs being used for hunting in accordance with state law, rules and regulations, or dogs engaged in police activity.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-14. – Humane treatment of animals. No person, corporation or other entity having an animal in its possession and/or control shall fail to provide such animal sufficient food, a constant source of potable water, sanitary living conditions, shelter and adequate protection from the elements. Veterinary care, when needed to prevent suffering to such animal, shall be provided; and such animal shall be treated with humane care at all times.(b)No person shall, by act, omission or neglect, cause unjustifiable physical pain, suffering or death to any animal, beat, ill-treat, torment, overload, overwork, or otherwise abuse an animal or cause, instigate or permit combat between animals.(c)No person or corporate entity having an animal in its possession and/or control shall abandon such animal on public or private property or fail to reclaim said animal from the animal shelter.(d)No person shall expose any known poisonous substance, whether mixed with food or not, so that the poisonous substance shall be liable to be eaten by any animal. It shall not be unlawful for a person to expose, on his own property, common rat and insect poisons.(e)When an owner or other responsible person receives a citation pursuant to this section the animal(s) whose condition provided the bases for the citation may be impounded immediately by animal control officers for the purpose of seeking veterinary care for such animal(s). The animal(s) may remain impounded pending disposition of the citation by the court, and any incurred veterinary or related expenses may be ordered paid as restitution by the court.(f)This section shall not be construed to limit in any way the authority or duty of any law enforcement officer, animal control officer, rabies control officer, humane society or veterinarian.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-15. – Tethering. It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or anyone having a dog in his possession and control to restrain or anchor a dog to a stationary object by means of a tether, chain, cable, rope or cord. A dog shall not be considered tethered when the dog is attached to a stationary object, as long as the owner or custodian is physically within reach of the dog.(b)As a means of restraint which is clearly set upon owner’s legal property lines, a dog may be attached to a running cable line or trolley system providing that:(1)A running cable line or trolley system remains within the property limits of the owner;(2)Only one dog may be attached to each running cable line or trolley system;(3)No dog may be attached to a running cable line or trolley system for more than 12 hours in a 24-hour period;(4)No dog may be attached to a running cable line or trolley system between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.;(5)Tethers and cables attaching the dog to the running cable line or trolley system must be made of a substance which cannot be chewed by the dog and shall not weigh more than five percent of the body weight of the dog tethered;(6)A running cable line or trolley system must have a swivel installed at each end and be attached to a stationary object that cannot be moved by the dog;(7)The running cable line or trolley system must be at least ten feet in length and mounted at least four feet and no more than seven feet above ground level;(8)The length of the tether from the running cable line or trolley system to the dog’s collar should allow access to the maximum available exercise area and allow the dog free access to food, water, and shelter;(9)Be attached to a properly fitted harness or collar not used for the display of a current rabies tag and other identification; and with enough room between the collar and the dog’s throat through which two fingers may fit. Choke collars and pinch collars are prohibited for the purpose of tethering a dog to a running cable line or trolley system; and(10)Be tethered at sufficient distance from any other objects to prohibit the tangling of the cable, from extending over an object or an edge that could result in injury of strangulation of the dog and be of sufficient distance from any fence so as to prohibit the dog access to the fence.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-16. – Prohibited animals. It shall be unlawful to purchase, sell, own, possess, harbor, breed skunks, foxes, prairie dogs, raccoons, coyotes, wolves, hybrid wolves, any hybrid animal that is part wild animal, exotic cats or any other native or nonnative wild animals unless licensed by the respective federal or state department of agriculture to possess such animal.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Secs. 18-17—18-20. – Reserved.
ARTICLE 3. – IMPOUNDMENT
- Sec. 18-21. – Powers and duties of animal control officer. The animal control officer shall be primarily responsible for the enforcement of this chapter, and their duties shall include but not be limited to the following:(a)Cooperation with the county board of health in the enforcement of rabies control regulations and of animal control directives.(b)Cooperation in the promotion of animal control and welfare.(c)Taking up and impounding animals that are in violation of this chapter, using any and all means available which are humane in nature.(d)Keeping a record of the number and description of all animals impounded or otherwise taken into custody, showing in detail in the case of each animal a general description by sex, breed and approximate age, together with any identification tag, vaccination tag or other marking, including microchipping, and the date of receipt.(e)Entering onto private property for the limited purposes of capturing animals deemed to be out of control, abandoned, or in need of treatment, and for the impounding of animals needing to be quarantined.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-22. – Interference with officer. It shall be unlawful for any person to interfere with, hinder or assault an animal control officer or other authorized officer in the performance of their duty, or seek to release or take any animal in the custody of the animal care and control department.(b)Any person who shall hinder, delay, interfere with or obstruct any animal control officer or other authorized officer while engaged in capturing, securing or taking to the animal shelter any animal or animals liable to be impounded, or who shall break open in any manner directly or indirectly aid, counsel or advise the breaking open of any animal control vehicle or other vehicle used for the collecting of any such animals shall be deemed in violation of this section; this shall include removing any animal from a county trap and/or destroying, stealing, or not returning said trap to the county following its permissible use.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-23. – Impoundment; redemption; adoption; disposition. Impoundment. Animals within any of the following classes may be impounded by an animal control officer:1.Animals running at large in violation of this chapter;2.Animals that have been abandoned;3.Animals subjected to inhuman treatment in violation of section 18-14;4.Animals which have bitten a person or which have been bitten by an animal suspected of having rabies;5.Animals suspected of having rabies; and6.Unconfined dogs in quarantine areas.(b)Redemption. It shall be responsibility of animal care and control to notify the owner of each dog impounded if the owner of the dog is known or can be reasonably ascertained. The owner of any dog impounded may, within 72 hours, reclaim the dog by the payment of a reasonable administrative impoundment fee and boarding fee as set by the board of commissioners for each day the dog was impounded and the cost of rabies inoculation if the dog impounded was not wearing a current rabies inoculation tag or if the owner of the animal does not have a current rabies inoculation certificate. In addition, the following minimal penalties for violation of this section shall apply:1.First violation: an impound fee of $30.00 shall be imposed.2.Second violation within 12 months immediately prior to the first violation: an impound fee of $45.00 shall be imposed, and the owner shall be responsible for having the dog implanted with a microchip identifier within 30 days of violation, or ensure an existing microchip is updated with the owner’s current information.3.Third violation within 12 months immediately prior to the first violation: an impound fee of $60.00 shall be imposed, and the owner shall be responsible for having the dog spayed or neutered by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of reclaim; however, the dog shall not be spayed or neutered if a minimum of two licensed veterinarians each provide a written statement that spay or neuter would be medically unsafe for the dog.(c)Adoption. Animal care and control may offer for adoption to any person, not limited by this chapter, any animal unredeemed or unclaimed by the owner after 72 hours and upon compliance with the following provisions:1.Payment of the adoption fee as set from time to time by the board of commissioners and cost of rabies inoculation, if needed.2.All fertile dogs and cats adopted from animal care and control shall be neutered or spayed within 30 days from the date of adoption in the case of an adult animal, or within 30 days of the sexual maturity of the dog or cat in the case of an immature animal.3.The person or organization seeking to adopt a dog or cat that has not reached sexual maturity shall sign a written document guaranteeing that sterilization will be performed by a licensed veterinarian within 30 days of the dog or cat reaching sexual maturity. In such event, the person or organization who adopted the dog or cat shall be responsible for all costs associated with the sterilization of the dog or cat.4.Upon completion of neutering or spaying within the period specified by this section, the person or organization who adopted the dog or cat shall provide proof of the sterilization to animal care and control within ten days of sterilization.5.In the event, and for whatever reason, to include the giving of an animal to another individual or organization, the animal is no longer in the possession of the person or organization who adopted the animal, the person or organization shall sign an affidavit as to the whereabouts of the animal. Any such transfer shall not release the adopter from the contract.6.No person residing in the same household, nor any corporation, institute or other entity, may adopt more than four animals within any 12-month period; however, nothing shall prohibit the animal control division manager to donate more than four animals in a 12-month period if the donation is in the best interest or welfare of the animal or is in the best interest of public safety.(d)Disposition. If a dog or cat is not claimed by the owner within the time prescribed or adopted, then it shall be the duty of the department of animal care and control to dispose of it in as humane and painless manner as possible.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-24. – Disposition of injured, seriously ill or diseased animals. Any animal impounded or seized by an animal control officer, or surrendered to animal care and control evidencing advanced symptoms of contagious, infectious or fatal diseases, is seriously ill or severely injured, animal care and control shall seek the services of a licensed veterinarian who will determine whether to treat the animal or humanely euthanize the animal; or in the absence of an available veterinarian, the animal control officer may concur with a superior on duty. This action may be taken to control the spread of disease or to eliminate any further pain and suffering of an animal. Every attempt will be made to stabilize an owned animal to afford the owner the opportunity to reclaim the animal, with the exception of feral cats. Once said feral cat has undergone an accepted temperament test and no proof of ownership can be determined, said animal shall be humanely euthanized without an additional hold.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-25. – Limiting adoptions. The county reserves the right to refuse to allow any person to adopt an animal in its custody or control. Any individual wishing to adopt an animal from the county must provide proof of ownership of residence, or permission of the property owner for the animal to reside at a particular location. No person who surrenders ownership of an animal to the county may adopt an animal for a period of three years after the surrender, without a written waiver from the animal control division manager.(b)Animals not placed for adoption through the county program may be made available to adoption facilitators and organizations on a first come first served basis. Adoption facilitators and organizations must provide proof of Georgia state licensing prior to adopting each individual animal. Adoption facilitators and organizations may be required to pay an adoption facilitator/rescue fee and shall reimburse the county for any medical care/testing done on the animal by the county or its agents.(c)The following breeds shall not be available for public adoptions:1.Pit Bull and/or Pit Bull Mix2.Rottweiler and/or Rottweiler Mix3.Mastiff Type and/or Mastiff Type Mix4.Chow and/or Chow Mix5.Bulldog Type and/ or Bulldog Type Mix6.Shar Pei and/or Shar Pei MixAll of the above, as with any other animal housed in the shelter, would be at the final discretion of the animal control division manager.(d)Any person convicted of cruelty, neglect or abandonment of animal will not be allowed to adopt an animal from the animal service center for three years after the date of conviction, without written waiver from the animal control division manager.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Secs. 18-26—18-30. – Reserved.
ARTICLE 4. – RABIES CONTROL
- Sec. 18-31. – Rabies control/animal control officer. The rabies control officer shall be the animal control officer and/or any other designated agent of the county health department.(b)Duties of the rabies control officer will include:(1)Investigate and maintain a record of animal bites in the county.(2)Provide for proper confinement of an animal involved in a bite incident.(3)Provide stray animal pickup service.(4)All duties required under this chapter.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-32. – When collar and tag required. For each dog three months of age or older, it shall be the duty of the dog owner or custodian to provide a collar and affixed current rabies inoculation tag issued by a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine in the state. The collar and tag shall be worn at all times; except that the wearing of collar and tag is not required for dogs participating in a dog show, dogs living or boarded in licensed kennels or in veterinary clinics or dogs being used for hunting purposes and the owner or person in possession of the dog has a valid hunting license in their possession.(b)It shall be unlawful for any person to attach a vaccination tag or license tag to the collar of any animal for which it was not issued.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-33. – Rabies cases to be reported. It shall be the duty of any person knowing of a rabid animal or of an animal showing rabid symptoms, to immediately report such animal to the animal control shelter and give as much pertinent information as possible.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-34. – Quarantine. Where rabies has been found to exist in an animal or where its existence is suspected, the animal control division manager or his/her designee may designate an area within which quarantine of all such animals shall be maintained and all such animals shall thereupon be immediately confined to the premises designated by the animal control division manager or his/her designee in a manner approved by the state and county health officials, whether or not such animal has been vaccinated against rabies.(b)No animal shall be removed from or brought into a quarantined area or premises without prior approval of the animal control division manager or his/her designee.(c)Quarantine ordered by the animal control division manager or his/her designee shall be maintained for such period as the animal control division manager or his/her designee deems necessary to protect the public health.(d)Quarantined areas or premises and areas where an animal that has tested positive for rabies shall be posted by the animal control division manager or his/her designee with signage notifying the public that a rabid animal has been confirmed in the area. Such signage shall be conspicuously displayed in the place designated by the animal control division manager or his/her designee and shall not be defaced or removed except by the animal control division manager or his/her designee. Signage shall be approved by the animal control division manager or his/her designee.(e)The owner or custodian of each animal subject to quarantine which is designated to be longer the ten calendar days, invoked by the animal control division manager or his/her designee shall be notified in writing, via certified mail, of the quarantine as required by this section.(f)The heads of all animals suspected of having had rabies at time of death and came into direct contact with other animals or humans, shall be submitted to the animal control division manager or his/her designee for examination by the Centers for Disease Control State Lab.(g)A 10-day quarantine from date of bite shall be required for any animal who bites or scratches a human and breaks skin which caused bleeding in any manner.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Secs. 18-35—18-40. – Reserved.
ARTICLE 5. – DANGEROUS DOGS AND VICIOUS DOGS
- Sec. 18-41. – Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:Animal control shelter means the facility designated by the board of commissioners for the impoundment, restraint, care, detention and disposition of animals.Animal control board means the board created as set forth in section 2-138 of the Code of Rockdale County, Georgia.Classified dog means any dog that has been classified as either a dangerous dog or vicious dog pursuant to this article.County means the incorporated and unincorporated areas of Rockdale County, Georgia.Dangerous dog means any dog that:(1)Causes a substantial puncture of a person’s skin by teeth without causing serious injury; provided, however, that a nip, scratch, or abrasion shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subsection;(2)Aggressively attacks in a manner that causes a person to reasonably believe that the dog posed an imminent threat of serious injury to such person or another person although no such injury occurs; provided, however, that the acts of barking, growling, or showing of teeth by a dog shall not be sufficient to classify a dog as dangerous under this subsection; or(3)While off the owner’s property, kills a pet animal; provided, however, that this subsection shall not apply where the death of such pet animal is caused by a dog that is working or training as a hunting dog, herding dog, or predator control dog.Dog control officer means the employee(s) designated by the Rockdale County board of commissioners to aid in the administration and enforcement of the provisions of this article.Mail means to send by certified mail or statutory overnight delivery to the recipient’s last known address.Owner means any natural person or any legal entity, including, but not limited to a corporation, partnership, firm, or trust, owning, possessing, harboring, keeping or having custody or control of a dog within the county. In the case of a dog owned by a minor, the term “owner” includes the parents or person in loco parentis with custody of the minor.Proper enclosure means an enclosure on the owner’s property for keeping a dangerous dog or vicious dog in a locked pen, fence, or structure suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping. Any such pen or structure shall have secure sides and, in the case of a vicious dog, a secure top, and if the dog is enclosed within a fence, all sides of the fence shall be of sufficient height and the bottom of the fence shall be constructed or secured in such a manner as to prevent the dog’s escape either from over or from under the fence. Any such enclosure shall also provide protection from the elements for the dog.Serious injury means any physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death; results in death, broken or dislocated bones, lacerations requiring multiple sutures, or disfiguring avulsions; requires plastic surgery or admission to a hospital; or results in protracted impairment of health, including transmission of an infection or contagious disease, or impairment of the function of any bodily organ.Vicious dog means a dog that inflicts serious injury on a person or causes serious injury to a person resulting from reasonable attempts to escape from the dog’s attack.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-42. – Application of provisions. Any dog classified prior to July 1, 2012, as a potentially dangerous dog in the State of Georgia shall on and after that date be classified as a dangerous dog pursuant to this article and in compliance with O.C.G.A. § 4-8-33.(b)Any dog classified prior to July 1, 2012, as a dangerous dog or vicious dog in the State of Georgia shall on and after that date be classified as a vicious dog under this article and in compliance with O.C.G.A. § 4-8-33.(c)The owner of any dog referred to in this section shall come into compliance with all current provisions of this article by _____________.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-43. – Liability of county; liability of owner. Pursuant to Georgia law, under no circumstance shall the county or any employee or official of the county be held liable for any damages to any person who suffers an injury inflicted by a dog as a result of a failure to enforce the provisions of this article.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-44. – Investigations by dog control officer; owner’s responsibilities. Upon receiving a report of a dog believed to be subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog within a dog control officer’s jurisdiction, such officer shall make such investigations as necessary to determine whether such dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog.(b)If a dog, without a current and valid rabies vaccination, bites or scratches any person, it shall be the duty of the owner having possession and knowledge of such to arrange for quarantine and confinement of such dog as set forth in article 4 of this chapter. If it is determined that the dog is rabid, then the dog is to be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. If the dog is found to not be rabid, such dog may be claimed upon proof of a current rabies vaccination and an enclosure deemed proper by the dog control officer. When observation period as determined by the animal control division manager is satisfied, the owner of such dog shall have 72 hours to claim such dog.(c)If a dog, with a current and valid rabies vaccination, bites any person, it shall be the duty of the owner, or person having possession of such dog and knowledge of such bite, to confine such dog for a 10-day period in an enclosure deemed appropriate and designated by the animal control division manager or his/her designee.(d)A dog, which has not been classified a dangerous or vicious dog, may be removed from the proper enclosure restriction after satisfying the requirements of the 10-day confinement period.(e)The owner of a dog, which has been classified a dangerous dog or a vicious dog, must continue confinement of the dog in a proper enclosure as long as the dog is so classified.(f)In the event an owner of a dog fails or refuses to abide by this section, the dog control officer is hereby authorized and empowered to confiscate such dog, confine it at the expense of such owner at a veterinary hospital or at the animal control shelter for such time it deems necessary in order to observe whether the dog is rabid. In the event the veterinary hospital or animal control shelter determines the dog to be rabid, then such dog is to be destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-45. – Procedures for classification as dangerous dogs or vicious dogs. Any irregularity in classification proceedings shall not be a defense to any prosecution under this article so long as the owner of the dog received actual notice of the classification and did not pursue a civil remedy for the correction of the irregularity. The animal control division manager shall have the final say whether or not a dog will be classified.(b)When a dog control officer determines that a dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog, the dog control officer shall mail a dated notice to the dog’s owner within 72 hours. Such notice shall include a summary of the dog control officer’s determination and shall state that the owner has a right to request a hearing from the animal control board on the dog control officer’s determination within seven days after the date shown on the notice. The notice shall also provide a form for requesting the hearing and shall state that if a hearing is not requested within ten calendar days, the dog control officer’s determination shall become effective for all purposes under this article. If an owner cannot be located within ten days of a dog control officer’s determination that a dog is subject to classification as a dangerous dog or vicious dog, such dog may be released to an animal shelter or humanely euthanized, as determined by the dog control officer. No dog shall be classified as a dangerous dog or vicious dog for actions that occur while the dog is being used by a law enforcement or military officer to carry out the law enforcement or military officer’s official duties. No dog shall be classified as a dangerous dog or a vicious dog if the person injured by such dog was a person who, at the time, was committing a trespass, was abusing the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit an offense under O.C.G.A. tit. 16, ch. 5.(c)During the pendency of any hearing or appeal of a determination that a dog is a dangerous or vicious dog as provided for in this section, the owner of such dog shall cause such dog to be confined at the expense of such owner of such dog, at a veterinary hospital, licensed kennel facility, or in a proper enclosure deemed suitable by the manager of the animal control division.(d)If an owner fails or refuses to abide by subsection (c) of this section, the dog control officer is authorized and empowered to confiscate such animal, confine it at the expense of such owner at a veterinary hospital, kennel facility, or proper enclosure deemed suitable by the dog control officer during the pendency of any hearing or appeal mentioned in the subsection (c) of this section.(e)When a hearing is requested by a dog owner in accordance with subsection (b) of this section, such hearing shall be scheduled within 30 days after the request is received; provided, however, that such hearing may be continued by the animal control board for good cause shown. At least ten days prior to the hearing, the animal control department shall mail to the dog owner written notice of the date, time, and place of the hearing. At the hearing, the dog owner shall be given the opportunity to testify and present evidence and the animal control board shall receive other evidence and testimony as may be reasonably necessary to sustain, modify, or overrule the dog control officer’s determination.(f)Within ten days after the date of the hearing, the animal control board shall complete all necessary forms and provide same to animal care and control, following receipt of same, animal care and control shall mail written notice of the board’s determination on the matter within two business dates of receipt. If such determination is that the dog is a dangerous dog or a vicious dog, the notice of classification shall specify the date upon which that determination shall be effective. If the determination is that the dog is to be euthanized pursuant to subsection (h), the notice shall specify the date by which the euthanasia shall occur.(g)After notification from the hearing board that a dog has been determined to be a dangerous or vicious dog, the owner of such dog shall have three business days within which to pick up his dog from the boarding facility; provided the owner is in compliance with all requirements of this article. After such notification, the owner may appeal from any adverse decision rendered by the animal control board in such manner as provided by the laws of the State of Georgia. Written notification of such an appeal shall be given immediately to the Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office for service of said appeal.(h)A dog that is found, after notice and opportunity for hearing as provided in this section, to have caused a serious injury to a human on more than one occasion shall be euthanized; provided, however, that no injury occurring before July 1, 2012 shall count for purposes of this subsection.(i)Pursuant to O.C.G.A. §4-8-25, the judge of the Superior Court may order the euthanasia of a dog, if the court finds after notice, and opportunity for hearing as provided by O.C.G.A. §4-8-23, that the dog has seriously injured a human or presents a danger to humans not suitable for control under, and the owner or custodian of the dog has been convicted of a violation of any state criminal law, and the crime was related to such dog; and, any local governmental authority has filed with the court a civil action requesting the euthanasia of the dog.(j)Penalties for violation of the dangerous and vicious dogs article:(1)First Offense: A fine of at least $500.00(2)Second Offense: A fine of at least $750.00(3)Third and Subsequent Offenses: A fine of $1,000.00 in addition to 60 days in the Rockdale County Jail.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-46. – Requirements for possessing classified dogs. It is unlawful for an owner to have or possess within the county a classified dog without a certificate of registration issued in accordance with the provisions of this section. Each and every animal classified under this section must be either spayed or neutered within 30 days of classification before being eligible for issuance of a certificate of registration. Certificates of registration shall be nontransferable and shall be issued to a person 18 years of age or older. No more than one certificate of registration shall be issued per domicile.(b)Subject to the additional requirements of this article, a certificate of registration for a dangerous dog shall be issued if the dog control officer determines that the following requirements have been met:(1)The owner has maintained an enclosure designed to securely confine the dangerous dog on the owner’s property, indoors, or in a securely locked and enclosed pen, fence, or structure suitable to prevent the dangerous dog from leaving such property; and(2)Clearly visible warning signs have been posted at all entrances to the premises where the dog resides.(3)A microchip containing an identification number and capable of being scanned has been injected under the skin between the shoulder blades of the dog; and(4)The owner maintains and can provide proof of general or specific liability insurance in the amount of at least $100,000.00 or the maximum amount authorized by Georgia law issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state insuring the owner of the dangerous dog against liability for any bodily injury or property damage caused by the dangerous dog.(5)Owner will pay initial registration fee of $250.00 and then an annual renewal fee of $100.00 to the animal control division.(c)Except as otherwise provided in this article, a certificate of registration for a vicious dog shall be issued if the animal control officer determines that the following requirements have been met:(1)The owner has maintained an enclosure designed to securely confine the vicious dog on the owner’s property, indoors, or in a securely locked and enclosed pen, fence, or structure suitable to prevent the vicious dog from leaving such property;(2)Clearly visible warning signs have been posted at all entrances to the premises where the dog resides;(3)A microchip containing an identification number and capable of being scanned has been injected under the skin between the shoulder blades of the dog; and(4)The owner maintains and can provide proof of general or specific liability insurance in the amount of at least $300,000.00 or the maximum amount authorized by Georgia law issued by an insurer authorized to transact business in this state insuring the owner of the vicious dog against liability for any bodily injury or property damage caused by the vicious dog.(5)Owner will pay initial registration fee of $500.00 and then an annual renewal fee of $200.00 to the animal control division.(d)The owner of a classified dog shall notify the dog control officer, within 24 hours if the dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked a human, has died or been euthanized, or has been sold or relocated. If the dog has been sold or relocated, the owner shall also provide the animal control officer with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner of the dog. A vicious dog shall not be transferred, sold, or donated to any other person unless it is relinquished to a governmental facility or veterinarian to be euthanized.(e)The owner of a classified dog shall notify the dog control officer if the owner is moving out of the county. The owner of a classified dog who moves to the county from another jurisdiction within the State of Georgia shall register the classified dog with the county within ten days of becoming a resident and notify the dog control officer of the jurisdiction from which he or she moved. The owner of a similarly classified dog who is a new resident of the state or county shall register the dog as required in this section within 30 days after becoming a resident.(f)Issuance of a certificate of registration or renewal of a certificate of registration by the dog control officer in the county does not warrant or guarantee that the requirements specified in this section are maintained by the owner of a classified dog on a continuous basis following the date of the issuance of the initial certificate of registration or following the date of any annual renewal of such certificate.(g)A dog control officer is authorized to make whatever inquiry is deemed necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this article. Pursuant to Georgia law, law enforcement agencies, including those of the county and the municipalities within the county, will cooperate with dog control officers in enforcing the provisions of this article.(h)An annual fee, which may be set from time to time in an amount deemed reasonable by the board of commissioners, in addition to any regular dog licensing fees shall be paid to register classified dogs as required by this article. Certificates of registration shall be renewed on an annual basis. At the time of the annual renewal of a certificate of registration, a dog control officer shall require evidence from the owner or make such investigation as may be necessary to verify that the classified dog is continuing to be confined in a proper enclosure and that the owner is continuing to comply with other provisions of this article. Failure to renew a certificate of registration within ten days of the renewal date or initial classification date shall constitute a violation of this article.(i)No certificate of registration shall be issued to any person who has been convicted of two or more violations of this article.(j)No certificate of registration for a vicious dog shall be issued to any person (or to any person residing with such person) who has been convicted (from the time of conviction until two years after completion of his or her sentence) of:(1)A serious violent felony as defined in O.C.G.A. § 17-10-6.1;(2)The felony of dogfighting as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-12-37 or the felony of aggravated cruelty to animals as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4; or(3)A felony involving trafficking in cocaine, illegal drugs, marijuana, methamphetamine, or ecstasy as provided for in O.C.G.A. § 16-13-31.1.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-47. – Restrictions on classified dogs. It shall be unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be off the owner’s property unless:(1)The dog is muzzled and restrained by a leash not to exceed six feet in length and is under the immediate physical control of a person capable of preventing the dog from engaging any other human or animal when necessary; or(2)The dog is contained in a closed and locked cage or crate.(b)It shall be unlawful for an owner of a vicious dog to permit the dog to be:(1)Outside an enclosure designed to securely confine the vicious dog while on the owner’s property or outside a securely locked and enclosed pen, fence, or other structure suitable to prevent the vicious dog from leaving such property unless:a.The dog is muzzled and restrained by a leash not to exceed six feet in length and is under the immediate physical control of a person capable of preventing the dog from engaging any other human or animal when necessary; orb.The dog is contained in a closed and locked cage or crate.(c)No dangerous or vicious dog shall be permitted to be unattended with minors(d)No person shall be the owner of more than one dangerous and/or vicious dog.(e)Any person who violates this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §4-8-29(c).(f)An owner with a previous conviction for a violation of this section whose classified dog causes a serious injury to a human being under circumstances constituting another violation of this article shall be guilty of a felony and upon conviction thereof shall be punished pursuant to O.C.G.A. §4-8-29(d). In addition to the state mandated sentencing, the classified dog shall be euthanized at the cost of the owner.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-48. – Confiscation of dogs. A law enforcement officer or dog control officer shall immediately impound a dog if the officer believes the dog poses a threat to the public safety.(b)A classified dog shall be immediately confiscated by any animal control officer or by a law enforcement officer in the case of any violation of this article. A refusal to surrender a dog subject to confiscation shall be a violation of this article.(c)The owner of any dog that has been confiscated pursuant to this article may recover such dog upon payment of all reasonable confiscation and housing costs and proof of compliance with the provisions of this article, unless such confiscation is deemed to be in error by a dog control officer or the county animal control board. All fines and all charges for services performed by a law enforcement or animal control officer shall be paid prior to owner recovery of the dog. Criminal prosecution shall not be stayed due to owner recovery or euthanasia of the dog.(d)In the event the owner has not complied with the provisions of this article within 14 days of the date the dog was confiscated, such dog shall be released to an animal shelter or euthanized in an expeditious and humane manner. The owner may be required to pay the costs of housing and euthanasia.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-49. – Summons. Upon a complaint lodged with the animal control shelter regarding any section of this article, a summons may be issued requiring the owner of any domesticated animal, or any person, firm or corporation violating any of the provisions set forth in this article to appear before a judge of the Magistrate Court of Rockdale County on a day and time certain to answer for the violation of this article. If such violation of this article has not been witnessed by an officer of the county, a subpoena may be issued to the person making the complaint, requiring such person to appear on the day and time of the hearing set by the court to testify on behalf of the county.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
ARTICLE 6. – ROCKDALE COUNTY DOG PARKS
- Sec. 18-50. – Penalty for violation of section. Any person who is convicted of a violation of any of the provisions of this section shall be punished as provided for in section 1-11, except that the maximum fine for littering shall be $100.00 for each such conviction. Any and all other penalties shall be governed as provided by in section 70-2 as relating to all county parks and recreational facilities.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-51. – Regulations. The following regulations shall apply to all public dog parks owned and/or leased by the county:(a)The hours of operation for the Rockdale County dog parks shall be from sunrise to sundown; however, the hours may be adjusted for any facility by the director of the department of recreation and maintenance of the county. No person shall remain in or upon the grounds of any public dog park during hours when such public dog park is closed.(b)Entrance and exit gates must be kept closed at all times.(c)Dogs must remain leashed at all time while entering and exiting the park.(d)Dogs must be removed from the park at the first sign of aggression toward another person or animal.(e)Any and all female dogs in heat and puppies under four months of age are not allowed on premises for any reason and at any time.(f)Owners must remain inside the park gates, with their dog’s leash, within view, and within voice control of their dog at all times.(g)No more than three dogs per person, and the individual responsible for supervising the dog must be at least 18 years of age.(h)Children and infants must be kept under strict supervision at all times.(i)Dogs must be legally licensed, have current vaccinations, and shall wear a visible license tag while in the dog park.(j)Owners are fully responsible for any damages done to the park, people, or other dogs during their visit.(k)Owners are responsible for cleaning up and property disposing of dog waste in the designated containers located at the dog park.(l)In addition to the above regulations specific to county dog parks, all regulations as provided for in section 70-2-(b) shall apply, unless otherwise noted.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
- Sec. 18-52. – Severability. Each section and each provision or requirement of any section of this chapter shall be deemed severable, and the invalidity of any portion of this chapter shall not affect the validity or enforceability of any other portion.(Ord. No. 0-2019-21, §§ 2—39, 10-22-19, effective 1-1-20)
Sec. 42-77. – Livestock at large.
It shall be unlawful for any owner to permit livestock to run at large on or to stray upon the public roads of the county or any property not belonging to the owner of the livestock except by permission of the owner of such property. For purposes of this section, the term “livestock” shall mean horses, cows, goats, pigs, chickens and similar farm animals.
(Ord. No. 0-1999-26, § I, 12-14-1999)