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Henry officials urge owners to register livestock

Rise in escaped animals becoming costly

Henry County Animal Care and Control officials say they are experiencing a greater than usual number of escaped livestock roaming the county. The unscheduled rambling is taxing the county in the time and personnel it takes to round up the stray animals.

Vince Farah, a supervisor with Henry Animal Care and Control, said his department is spending too much time tracking down owners of livestock, once the animals get loose. He and other officials are issuing an appeal to livestock owners to register them –– now.

“Sometimes, it will be one animal that will tie us up, sometimes two,” he said. “We’ve had 50 to 60 calls this year, and that’s about a 30-percent increase over last year.”

Farah said his department wants livestock owners to update the county’s livestock list, to show the various animals they own, and where they should be returned, if they roam.

He said he is not interested in intricate details: “Our goal is to get them put back up as expeditiously as possible.” His staff of six, he said, is responsible for the entire county, and has been called to capture horses, cows, goats, chickens, and other animals. On most days, four staffers are on duty, he said.

While Henry County is a suburban community, located near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and 30 minutes from Atlanta, some of its 203,000 residents live in rural areas, which are near major interstate highways. On Nov. 22, Farah said, a horse that got loose in the Fairview area tied up two officers for 20 hours. “We recently spent a half a day ... trying to find the owner of [the] horse that broke loose from a pasture, and we ended up having to load and transport it to the animal shelter, until the owner could pick it up,” he said. “The owner lived nearby, where the animal was found, but we had no way of knowing that.”

At least once a week, animal control receives a call in reference to some type of farm animal in the roadway, he said. “Lately, it has been more cows than any other livestock,” said Farah, adding that livestock owners should be mindful of the liability they face, if one of their animals causes a wreck.

“We are asking farm animal owners to call us and register the animals free of charge,” he said. “By giving us their name, address, and location of the animals ... Overall, that will save the taxpayers of Henry County money.”

Livestock owners should fill out a free livestock registration form that may be obtained through the county’s web site at: www.hcacc.org, Farah said.

Completed forms can be dropped off, or mailed to Henry County Animal Care and Control, 527 Hampton St., McDonough, Ga., 30253, or e-mailed to Gerri Yoder at: gdueringer@co.henry.ga.us. Owners may also call in the information to the department, at (770) 288-7387.

“A lot of times, the owners live in surrounding counties, but lease property in Henry County to house their farm animals,” said Farah.

He said if owners want to, “They can write the names on a brown paper bag and drop it at our office, just as long as it has the contact information we’ve requested.”