North Augusta ordinance for free-roaming dogs important for owners

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, June 25, 2013

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- Elaine van der Linden has always had a soft spot in her heart for dogs.

"The dog that got killed was sweet, too, he was precious," she explained.

And she knows North Augusta leaders are serious when they say that dogs can't run loose in North Augusta. She says there's zero tolerance for that.

After an apartment fire in North Augusta left three dogs without a home, Molly's Militia stepped up, offering to adopt all three to get them off the streets.

"One of the neighbors insisted, 'You know, I want this dog, I been taking care of this dog,' but I said, 'You know, the dog's running loose,'" said Van der Linden.

She says she had a sinking feeling about leaving the dog behind.

"Honestly, when I left that bigger dog, I felt like his death warrant was signed because I could see she was going to let it run all over the neighborhood," she said.

More than a month later, the dog was gunned down by a North Augusta Public Safety officer.

That's after a neighbor threatened to stab the dog with a knife, right before he was arrested for threatening a public safety officer.

The incident report states the dog then charged at the officer, so the officer open fired in defense.

"Totally the fault of the owner, the lady that was keeping the dog," she said.

Van der Linden says, "You can't let your animal run loose, you don't let your child run up the middle of the street."

The city ordinance says an officer can pick up any animal running at large.

That dog can even be in your own yard, but if it isn't leashed up, then the pup gets picked up.

The night the dog was shot, the dog was roaming the neighborhood.

"We would have picked the dog up, taken it to the vet, the dog would be alive today," she said.

But no one called Van der Linden -- something she says is rare and something she hopes never happens again.

"Dog is a mans best friend, they love you no matter what, and we owe them that," she said.

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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