Dalton man charged with Animal Cruelty allowed to keep dog

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DALTON, Ga. (WDEF) –  A Dalton man who was jailed on two counts of aggravated animal cruelty after one of his dogs died and another was found “severely malnourished” was allowed to leave the Whitfield County Animal Shelter with his surviving dog.

The Dalton Police Department did not put a hold on the surviving dog through Whitfield County Animal Control, even though the owner of the dog was under investigation by the DPD.

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As a result, the owner was able to pay a $50 pickup fee after providing proof of ownership and rabies vaccinations, and left with his dog a day before he was jailed on the felony charges.

“Our hands were tied,” Whitfield County Animal Shelter Director Don Garrett said. “(The Dalton Police Department) was trying to get a warrant for his arrest, but if they don’t put a hold on the dog then we can’t legally hold the dog.”

The Whitfield County Animal Control deputy who took custody of the live dog from the property said better communication between the agencies could have kept the dog in protective custody.

“I believe we are going to have to do some talking and do a better job with the communication part,” Deputy Brandon Norwood said. “We should have communicated better all the way around.”