Sometimes the simplest conflicts hinge on miscommunication.
In Flowery Branch, family members are upset that an Animal Control officer didn’t come to their property after office hours Friday when they reported an aggressive dog. Back at Hall County Animal Control, an officer reports they responded to the call and handled it according to policy.
As the stories continued to collide Wednesday, Animal Control Supervisor Mike Ledford has decided to conduct an investigation and
review 911 tapes for the call.
"We really do want to keep our customer service at the utmost level," he said. "I don’t want to hear two different stories for a situation."
The office takes calls on a case-by-case basis, but any report of physical contact between animals or between an animal and human should be addressed, Ledford said. Although the group is operating with a short staff of five officers, calls are taken around the clock.
"We have someone on call 24 hours a day," Ledford said. "Anytime an animal shows aggression to another animal or person, we do everything we can do take care of it."
Ledford said the officer on call Friday was ready to go to the property when a neighbor called and reported that everything was under control and the aggressive dog was retained.
But resident John Carden doesn’t see it that way.
"The officer told me on the phone he wouldn’t come out, and I told him three or four witnesses could attest that the dog jumped on another one and made advances toward my wife," Carden said. "He wasn’t interested in coming out but said he was writing down a report and someone would come out Monday. No one ever did."
Carden’s 7-year-old son and pregnant wife were checking their mailbox when a neighbor’s dog across the street ran toward them but didn’t attack. When Carden’s friend brought his bull mastiff to the house, which Carden had agreed to take care of while the friend was on vacation, the aggressive dog ran after it and attacked.
"Another neighbor headed the dog off (both times), otherwise the situation would have gotten worse," Carden said. He and the neighbor called 911 dispatch separately, and Animal Control called both back later. "He said they wouldn’t come out because it was after hours and no person was bitten or hurt. He said to call if anything else happens."
The neighbors worried about their sons playing outside. When the dog’s owner returned that night, he was "apologetic and put the dog away," Carden said.
"I work with Atlanta Pitbull Rescue, and I’ve seen some vicious dogs," Carden said. "That was worse than what I’ve seen. The dog was very territorial, even outside of its yard. But my problem is not my neighbor. It’s about Animal Control’s response."
Ledford and Carden discussed the situation Wednesday afternoon, and Ledford said he plans to research the situation further.
"These officers foster animals at their homes and feed many until they can be adopted," he said. "They care about what they do, and they really care about the public not being injured."