Changes coming to Animal Control


ELLIJAY, Ga. – A couple from the area of Woodland Acres spoke in August’s Commissioners’ meetings about an ongoing problem with dogs running loose in the area.

In the ensuing discussions, on August 8, 2019, Commission Chairman Charlie Paris promised citizens that changes would be coming to the Animal Control Ordinances of Gilmer County in efforts to address this and similar issues in the county.

The most vocal, Sto Goodwin and Debra Christian, live as neighbors in Woodland Acres and began discussing the issue on Wednesday, they tell FYN that several people in the area have had issues with dogs running free in the area. Christian named the breed Cane Corso as one that has specifically harassed her. She went on to say that the issue has not been handled properly as they have reported the issues, Animal Control has picked up the dogs on the loose, but the owner in question just get the dogs back. This owner, who was not named, has allegedly gone to court, promised to move, and made other promises that have not been kept.

Christian alleges that the owner refuses to enclose the dogs and actively trains them in “Predator Control.” She was supported in these allegations by both Goodwin and even Chairman Paris who said, “He has been very clear with us in the past that he expects his dogs to be able to run free, and that we’re welcome to fine him. He’ll pay the fine, but they will run free.”

Paris stated that the problem has existed for several years. Due to the increasing allegations and some citizens even saying they have video of the dogs killing cats and other animals as well as chasing after people in the area, responses are now increasing. While Paris said that they cannot just go and take the dogs by law, he did say that the county is already changing one thing right now. Animal Control’s policy for returning animals found off of owner’s property is going to step up plan.

Paris said, “Previously, if an animal was brought in that was found off the owner’s property, it was $150 fee to reclaim it. If it came in again, it was another $150. What we’ve done is we’ve lowered the first offense to $100, and if that person, who comes in, is willing to have us spay or neuter the particular animal, then we will lower it to $75. That’s the first time, and this is per owner, not per animal. The second time an animal from that owner comes in, it’s $300. And if they want to spay or neuter, we’ll back it up one level to $100. The third time it comes in, it’s going to be $600, then $900. And then it’ll be $1000.”

Paris went on to note that citations will also go along with that.

These new changes are just part of the major changes that could be coming to the ordinance. Paris promised those present that he would be looking into the ordinance to have something to present next month. Goodwin asked how many animals might die by the time this situation reaches those higher levels of fees.

Goodwin said that this issue has gone on for six years with nobody seeming to respond or even care as this one owner hides behind a law claiming exemption for dog attacks on other animals under certain circumstances. One of those exemptions involve Predator Control, being the training claimed for these animals. However, he also tells FYN that he has neighbors who have photos and even a video of one of the dogs with a mutilated cat in its mouth.

Additionally, with potential citations, court litigation, and other outcomes from additional issues arising, County Attorney David Clark warned those citizens that continued investigations would require continued support from citizens. He said they cannot back off from standing up for the issue as the county and court systems cannot pursue them through Animal Control without citizen support.

Goodwin stated that he did not want to harm the dogs as he blames the owner for their training and activities, but he warned that if they continued being aggressive and threatening others, someone was going to get hurt.

Paris also said he was worried about citizens attempting to protect themselves and potentially harming or killing the animals.

Moving into the the minimal 3-month process, changes are currently expected to be advertised in September, if approved the first reading will be in October, if approved there the second reading and final adoption will be in November.



  1. Josh Pritchett August 16, 2019 at 8:50 pm

    So when can my side of the story be known? And were these complaints sworn in under oath? As time goes on we will see what is more dangerous to the community. It will be allowing people to lie and exaggerate without references nor proof in the name of fear!!. You do not even have the breed correct!!! Who will they blame when the bears, coyotes , mountian lions and rabid animals replace my dogs? Mother nature? What about Mr. Goodwin allow his 3 dogs to get rabies? What about Mr. Goodwin lying to the cops and animal control about my dog killing his 2 cats that were never witnessed by no one!! Surely you care about the truth? Or are you just about a good story? How about the truth about my 10 years of selective breeding to create a better breed and a working class for the family. Which require freedom for the dog to even be able to create such a working class. I have not called on my customers that have my dogs to let my voice be heard but it’s time! My dogs keep predators and varmints away. And the cats that roam free and taunt my dogs when they are in kennals are the real problem. They are feral and wild and at large!! There is way more to my story and this will be continued………

  2. Josh T Pritchett August 17, 2019 at 2:51 am

    Mr. Goodwin please show the people the video of my dogs killing a pet! You are so full of it and all will see and know. While your proving that go ahead and prove that my dog killed your two cats that you called the law on but could not show them dead cats. Then you go to the animal control with the same story but zero dead cats. The facts and the evidence are never collected and the assumption and guessing game is where my problem is and will continue. So all this talk and to think it is factual because of some one expressed their fear is basically shallow and outright lazy. How about doing the job that your voted in office to do and to entertain these opinions and outright slandering lies is not one of the job requirements! When Mr. Goodwin said that shooting me because it’s not the dogs that are at fault should be a indicator of what kind of person and how scorned he is for calling him a liar and I will not allow anything less than to prove it . Let me make it clear! I am the victim here!!! I will get respect and a apology from each board member for the lack of professional environment that are to be upheld in the commissioner’s board meetings and to accept these bogus claims without due process and what yall expect me to just roll over and let my god given right and liberties and freedoms that are granted to each and every one of us American’s ? I’ve paid enough taxes in my life to say “Do Your Job! And put the evidence on that table in the board room which will require work ! Everything that was claimed that my dogs did has actual physical evidence and not one word or lip is required!! All that crying and boo hooing is gossip and gaslighting at its finest. When a person allows their pet to be killed out of sight it is a ease of pain and self guilt to blame someone other than a wild animal or them self’s for the irresponsible actions of being a pet owner. Wake up people!!! You do not even want to meet my dogs! Why not? Then you can make your own judgements on what success I have as a dog breeder!!!! Yes I did say that I will buy my dogs freedom and have!! I also said if my dogs kill someone’s pet I would contain them and yet i have not seen evidence that my dogs have killed anyone’s pet! My female dog has killed two cats that were a varmint feral cat at large on my property when the chase started. If you dont want your cat killed by any of the numerous things then use preventive measures. If you insist on allowing your cats to run loose then build it a cat house off the ground on legs because dogs and coyotes cant climb! Where is the department of common sense? What? You dont like my reaction to these attacks on my income, my family and on my life long works and achievements? Well then dont speak without proof and nor allow it! This is 2019 and we should all know the difference between hear say and factual. This is my way to change the ordinances that are so vague and need more than two sentences explaining and dealing with people’s freedoms and rights . Btw fines and the increases of fines to punish or to teach a lesson are not the answer to better this type of situations most times the lack of money is the cause! You understand? And to threaten one with jail will definitely not help a dog problem. Because who would take care of the dogs then ? And now my focus is on the board of commissioners and the meetings to require proof and to be sworn in under oath to make people liable and accountable for false statements.

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