12 On Your Side: Leash laws explained following teen death

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News 12 First at Five/Friday April 11, 2014

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW)--After 21 years with Richmond County Animal Services, Edward Jefferson says there are a few rules that people just keep breaking.

"People not taking care of their animals, do not have the rabies shots for their animals and no shelter for the animals," he said. "They think they can put the animals outside and just leave them out there. But, you can't."

County law requires animal owners to keep their pet under control while on their property.

Deputies say a violation of this law led to 13-year-old Demonta Collins' death Thursday evening.

Investigators say DeMonta was on the 3500 block of Milledgeville Rd running from a dog when he ran into a road and was hit by a car.

They're now citing the owner of the dog with failing to abide by county leash laws.

Jefferson couldn't talk to 12 about this specific case, but says if an animal gets away from an owners property and causes problems, that owner is held responsible.

"Your dog is fine as long as [it] stays on your property," he explained. "But, when [it] crosses that line, then people call us. And we can take you to court and it could cost you anything from $0 to $1000 or 60 days in jail."

He says a leash, cage or any kind of shelter can be used to keep pets under control while on their property, but--"to feel safe, to really be safe in Augusta, you need to have a fence," he recommended. " A sturdy fence."

"Some people do not realize how serious it is with these animals," Jefferson went on to say. "We all love the pets, but you have to realize...it's a big responsibility."

The same goes when owners have their pets out in public. They're required to have pets on a leash or in a cage when out on the street.

And, these ordinances are available to be viewed any time online. Click the attached links to check them out.

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