Cobb County Veterinarian Packet

Cobb County Animal Control, Marietta, GA

 


Cobb County Veterinarian Packet

Animal Control Division
Debra Cook, Manager

Lee New
Chief of Police
1060 Al Bishop Drive
Marietta, Georgia 30008
Telephone (770) 499-4136
FAX (770) 590-5620
Arthur B. Allred
Deputy Chief


March 6, 2002
Dear Cobb County Veterinarians:

We are frequently looking for veterinarians to assist us with cruelty cases in Cobb County. The Animal Protection Act of 2000 and the cruelty law that were passed in July 2000, require us to have a vet on scene to assess the living conditions and/or health of an animal before it can be impounded if the owner refuses to voluntarily surrender the animal.

If you would be interested in assisting Cobb County Animal Control with cruelty investigations in the future, please contact me as soon as possible at 770-590-5602. While we have been successful in the past in finding vets who were willing to assist us with little or no notice, the number of reported cruelties seems to have increased with the passage of this new law. We obviously do not want to wear out our welcome with the veterinarians who have graciously assisted us to date.

Depending on the number of veterinarians who would have an interest in helping with cruelty investigations, we will schedule several training sessions to inform you on your role in the investigation.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Cindy Franklin
Assistant Manager


 

I would like to thank you for expressing an interest in assisting Cobb County Animal Control with cruelty cases.
I will provide you with a synopsis of how veterinarians can assist, and why this is necessary more so now than in previous years.

  1. Animal Control basically deals with two categories of cruelties. Frequently, cruelties involve both categories.
    1. Animals that have been injured, maimed, physically abused, and / or killed.
    2. Animals that-are found living in deplorable, unsanitary conditions.
  2. With the passage of the new cruelty law in July 2000, came new guidelines on agencies that investigate cruelties. The Animal Protection Act of 2000 made it mandatory to have a veterinarian on scene to determine whether or not the living conditions of the animals, or the health of the animals, or the lack of adequate care of the animals constitutes inhumane care and/or cruelty.
  3. Abiding by the veterinarian requirement of the law, animal control agencies now have an avenue to have ownership of the animals relinquished to them and permanently removing the animals from an owner prior to a case being disposed of in Court.
    1. This stipulation allows the agency having custody of the animal to place the animal through adoption, or with a rescue group, etc. as opposed to having to house the animal for up to 12 months or longer while waiting on a case to be heard in Court.
    2. Frequently cruelty cases involve 30 or more animals. Housing this many animals is obviously a burden on the agency having custody of the animals. It is also unfair to the animals that have already been victims of inhumane treatment.
    3. If we do not have a veterinarian on scene, then we are unable to utilize this portion of the law to our advantage and the advantage of the animals.
    4. Having a veterinarian on scene is essential if we plan to charge an individual under the State cruelty law which carries a stiffer penalty as opposed to the County ordinance.
  4. Cobb County Animal Control’s policy is to have every animal impounded in a cruelty investigation thoroughly evaluated and treated by a veterinarian. This is essential to provide evidence of inhumane and/or cruel treatment.
    1. While Cobb Animal Control does not have unlimited financial resources for such cases, we are willing to spend a reasonable amount to establish what we need to prove a cruelty case. More will be said about compensating veterinarians later.
    2. In cases involving physical injury to the animal the decision must be made whether to treat the animal or euthanize the animal based on the extent of the injury.
    3. In cases involving health related issues because of unsanitary living conditions, we evaluate the animals for any condition that could be attributed to living in filth, i.e.. Parasite infections, transmittable diseases, skin conditions, etc. We test dogs for heartworms, and cats for Feline Leukemia and Feline Aids.
    4. WE DO NOT, however, authorize annual vaccinations or rabies vaccinations. We also do not authorize the sterilization of any animal until the animal becomes property of Cobb County, unless the sterilization is deemed to be necessary to save the life of an animal.
  5. While our first priority is having veterinarians who can go with us to the scene of a cruelty, there are several other ways that veterinarians can assist:
    1. By allowing Animal Control to bring seized animals to your clinic for evaluation and treatment.
    2. Boarding animals in need of more intensive or prolonged treatment.
    3. Coming to the Shelter to perform triage when a large number of animals have been impounded.
    4. Assisting with placing animals into new homes once the animals become property of Cobb County.
    5. Performing necropsies-in the event an animal is found deceased.
  6. As a rule, we do not involve the news media when we investigate a cruelty. We have had problems in the past with staff members from veterinary clinics notifying the media when animals are impounded. If you become involved in a cruelty case with Cobb Animal Control, please advise your staff NOT to contact the news media as this can hinder our investigation. It also has a tendency to make the animal owner less likely to cooperate.
  7. When you become involved in a cruelty case, you are acting as an agent for Cobb County. You cannot discuss any element of the case with anyone except members of Animal Control or the prosecuting attorney’s office. You MUST NOT discuss the case with any defense attorney or anyone calling on behalf of the animal owner. All calls should be referred directly to the case agent from Animal Control. Please remember that you will probably be subpoenaed to appear in Court on these cases.
  8. You must be willing to thoroughly document your findings, noting the condition of the animal when received, tests conducted, results of tests, diagnosis, prognosis, etc. Documentation is paramount in cruelty cases.
  9. Compensation for veterinarians is paid as follows. If you go to the scene with Animal Control, you will be paid for one hour of travel time and for each hour you are on the scene. A minimum of three hours (including one hour drive time) will be paid. The hourly rate is $40.00. If you bring supplies to the scene, (such as tranquilizers which must be used sometimes to sedate feral animals), please keep a list of these supplies and the cost. You will need to submit a bill to Animal Control for on-scene services. If you conduct the triage of the animals after impoundment, conduct any diagnostic procedures, provide any treatment, or provide boarding for the animals, you will need to submit a separate bill for this portion of your services. CCAC will provide you with a case number. Always include the case number of any bill you submit. Please make sure any bill submitted to CCAC in relation to a cruelty is forwarded directly to me. DO NOT submit it to Dianna Bartley as you do with other bills. Depending on the total costs, Animal Control may pay the entire bill or ask you to allow us to pay a portion of the bill until the case is disposed of in Court. Animal Control will ask for restitution from the defendant when the case is heard in Court. Sometimes the defendant is ordered to pay restitution to the veterinarian, Animal Control or both, depending on how much of the bill Animal Control has paid. Also, in the past, we have had veterinarians that charged Animal Control a reduced rate pending the outcome of the case. (For example, not charging CCAC for an examination on each animal). In these cases, the judge has asked the veterinarian what his actual costs would have been if the defendant had brought the animal in for treatment, and then ordered the defendant not only to reimburse the County for costs expended, but to also pay the veterinarian what he should have been paid for treatment rendered. In these cases, we have had the veterinarian submit two bills, one for what Animal Control would be charged if the veterinarian was inclined to charge a reduced cost, and a second bill which would indicate what the actual cost to a client would be. I can discuss this in more detail with you if you need clarification.

I have included a copy of the new cruelty law and the Animal Protection Act of 2000 for your information so you can see how involved a process this has become. However, CCAC is committed to prosecuting cruelties as aggressively as possible, and our conviction rate is one of the best in the State of Georgia.

If you become involved in a cruelty and then realize that the animals involved are clients of yours, you must immediately make us aware of this!!! This would be considered a conflict and would impede our ability to prosecute the case!!!

I think you will find cruelty investigations to be very interesting and eye-opening. Please remember to remain objective and not, (for lack of a better phrase), feel sorry for the defendant. Our goal is to protect the animals and remove them from an abusive environment.

If you have any questions after reading this material please do not hesitate to contact me at 770-590-5602. Also, I will be your contact person in regards to cruelty cases you become involved in.

Thank you in advance.
Sincerely,

Cindy Franklin
Assistant Manager / Cobb Animal Control


Courtesy of

1060 AL Bishop Drive
Marietta, Georgia 30008

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