Fulton may change animal control program after dog mauling death

After dogs attacked two Atlanta children at the bus stop last week, killing one and seriously injuring another, Fulton County mayors and commissioners said they may need to enhance or change their animal control system.

Fulton County, which has only 14 field workers, provides animal control services to cities in its jurisdiction. But the contract service is a one-size-fits-all approach to an issue that varies by location.

There may be a need to provide more services in some areas, said county leaders, who met Thursday to discuss a number of issues.

For instance, cities could decide they want to pay for more officers, for additional animal control facilities in their areas or for increased educational outreach.

“We may develop a tiered level of service,” Fulton County Manager Dick Anderson said.

Fulton County Chairman John Eaves said the dog attacks like the one that killed 6-year-old Logan Braatz and injured 5-year-old Syari Sanders brought to light a potential need for more animal control services. For each of the past two years, the department has picked up more than 5,500 dogs.

The agreement that governs the arrangement between Fulton and its cities expires this year.

“It took a tragedy for us to start these conversations,” Union City Mayor Vince Williams said.

In Palmetto, Mayor Clark Boddie said, police are the first line of defense against animal calls. With such a small staff, “we aren’t expecting animal control to do any aggressive patrolling,” he said.