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POSTED: April 19, 2007 5:00 a.m.
Have an issue, concern, complaint or question about Liberty County? Where does one go to have residents’ needs addressed with personal attention that is deserving of our constituents’ concerns?  
Just voice your concerns to the local Liberty County Board of Commissioners Citizens Advisory Committee that meets at 6 p.m. every third Monday of the month  at the courthouse annex. The meeting takes place in the second-floor boardroom.
I had a most urgent community issue and was able to vocalize my opinion in the open and friendly forum during the March meeting. I felt a need to address the issue after I noticed in the Coastal Courier’s classified section an advertisement under “Notices!”  A warning was issued, at least I took it to be a forewarning, that a loose red pit bull has been wandering my neighborhood streets for some time now. The notice was reprinted in Sunday’s issue in “red highlighted ink?”
Why did I not take my concerns to Animal Control? Why did I choose to take this particular “issue” to the Citizens Advisory Committee instead? The answer to that question is brief and succinct: I have not found the Animal Control office to be responsive to my concerns in a prompt manner as I am met with repetitive pre-recorded messages to leave messages. I have not found Animal Control to be effective controlling the loose-dog “issue” with any degree of effectiveness?
When some time ago I found a loose, starving and dehydrated black Lab female, a homeless canine I assumed, I called Animal Control. I was met with repeated pre-recorded messages and a long three-day wait to find a path to rescue this desperate creature in obvious need of help. I called the Liberty County shelter and they were full with no space for her, unfortunately. My German shepherd-husky mix, “Chaos,” does not take kindly to anyone intruding on his territory, canine or otherwise, so I knew I would not be able to offer her a home. After three days, I finally had to call the commissioners office to find out what the hold up was with Animal Control.
While we waited, I of course, provided comfort to the scared soul with temporary shelter, food, water and a cozy blanket until the proper authorities arrived on scene for her “official” rescue. I made it known in no uncertain terms I would not be complicit in the euthanasia of this canine who has so much love to offer to some deserving soul. I did not want to surrender her to the care of the Animal Control’s officer on scene without securing a promise beforehand that I would be notified if her owner could not be found or she could not be housed in the Liberty County “no-kill” shelter. If that occurred, I would pick her up and find a home for her myself. How? I did not have the answer at that moment, but was confident I could do it somehow! “Care for those who care not” is my motto this year in appreciation of ASPCA Day on April 10.
Another incident proved to be more promptly resolved when I had the occasion to encounter an injured German shepherd unable to walk and in obvious pain or distress. I called ... no, not Animal Control... but 9-1-1 dispatch. A distinct Hinesville peace officer came knocking at my door within minutes of my urgent call. We exchanged information as quickly as possible and out the door he went to find the wounded creature. What a knight in shining armor? Yes, indeed!
Why must we call upon our police force to rescue homeless, injured, and loose companion animals inside Liberty County? Are they not extremely busy tracking down all those offenders of aggressive crimes against our citizenry with the rise of “incidents” in our community neighborhoods of late? Do you really think they have the time to chase down loose dogs that may very well bite an innocent child if left loose?
During the Citizens Advisory Committee meeting, I asked the distinguished members to address the homeless companion animal issue. I pointed out some safeguards needed to be enacted for our citizens with enforcement consequences for irresponsible pet owners — those people who allow their animals to wander aimlessly and unsupervised.  
Dogs roaming at-large are at risk of being run over. They can also bite someone and potentially transmit rabies and other diseases. It’s a public safety issue.
Suggestions were made during the meeting to provide for the education of pet owners with course work to be completed prior to the issuance of a license with the yearly rabies tag, which I would have offered a second had I been a member.
Furthermore, I wanted the esteemed panel to address the non-compliance issues  with regards to existing leash laws and ordinances. I pointedly asked the members how ownership of a loose companion animal would be determined? A panel member in attendance suggested a microchip was the obvious solution. I thought that to be a valid resolution.
I want all of our citizens and residents of Liberty County to enjoy the Creator’s wonderful day without looking over their shoulders to see if a loose dog, such as that pit bull still roaming my neighborhood, may very well come around the next corner and bite one of our children while they are playing in their peaceful front yards.

Contact  Bezanson via email at columnist@coastalcourier.com
 

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