Lincoln County citizen asks board to protect pets, prosecute abusers

Published 3:00 pm Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Protect the animals and prosecute people who abuse them.

That’s what one Lincoln County native and long-time resident wants to see throughout the county.

Thomas Ann Gatlin appeared before the Board of Supervisors during its final regular meeting of June on Monday.

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“People are throwing out dogs on my road pretty regularly,” Gatlin said, many of which are wounded or malnourished, and often need a veterinarian’s care.

Gatlin said she would like to see one or more ordinances made by the board to outlaw dumping of dogs or other pets, cruelty to or neglect of animals, and banning dog fighting rings — of which she said there are two in the county. State laws against animal cruelty are prosecutable as misdemeanors, Gatlin told the board, and when dog fighting is involved felony prosecution can be made.

“The city has an ordinance. We need similar ordinances in the county,” Gatlin said. “How do y’all make an ordinance?”

Board president and District 4 Supervisor Eddie Brown explained that an ordinance is made after discussion by the board, research by county attorney Will Allen, then an ordinance drawn up and voted on by board members.

“We have a vicious dog ordinance,” attorney Allen said.

“Well, we need an ordinance because the Sheriff’s Office can’t do anything about it without one,” Gatlin said.

“Unfortunately, if you don’t see it (when it happens), you can’t do anything about it,” Brown said.

“Some of it is illegal, but we can’t do anything about it if we don’t know who it is,” said Sheriff Steve Rushing.

“If I see it,” Gatlin said, “I will report it.”

After Brown thanked Gatlin for coming to the board with her concerns, Gatlin met with Sheriff Rushing to discuss specifics that may help his office.