ELLIJAY, GA – In a public statement, the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office confirmed they were contacted by a member of PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) about the care of a donkey within the Build-An-Ark Animal Rescue.
Sheriff Stacy Nicholson told FYN that cases like this are referred to the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Natural Resources as they are better equipped and better trained for such investigations. For example, he stated the Sheriff’s Office does not have the facilities to impound or take possession of large animals or livestock.
Nicholson further told FYN that if charges were to come, they would be considering the opinions of the Department of Agriculture heavily as “the average law enforcement officer is not trained to deal with neglected livestock.” In a situation like this, the Sheriff’s Office uses experts for the investigation, and Department of Agriculture will not charge the county for any services or investigations.
Since the investigation began, the donkey in question has been checked by a veterinarian, and both the Sheriff’s Office and Build an Ark have confirmed that the donkey was put down. However, it has been reported that a further investigation is underway about the conditions and care for other animals in the rescue. The Sheriff’s Office also reports that Build an Ark and its owner are complying with the investigation.
On their Facebook page, Build an Ark reported to the public that the donkey, Naomi, “lived to 48, a good 20 years longer than most donkeys. Her kidneys were failing her and her quality of life was decreasing, so Susan made the tough decision to put her to rest.”
As such, Build an Arks public statement said that the veterinary visit to the donkey revealed the kidney failure, but the decision on putting the donkey down was left to Susan as the donkey was still walking around and not in too much pain yet. However, they do report that the veterinarian stated it was only a matter of time for the donkey.
In their statement, Build an Ark has also stated they have been investigated four times by the Department of Agriculture upon claims before, all of which resulted in no citations. FYN has submitted requests to the Department of Agriculture to confirm this, and is currently awaiting the information.