Juvenile charged with animal cruelty after viral video in Savannah

Juvenile charged with animal cruelty after viral video in Savannah
(Source: Gray Television)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The Savannah Police Department says a juvenile has been charged with animal cruelty after a social media video showed a dog being swung around by the leash.

According to the police, the family of the individual came forward.

Animal Control examined the dog and say the dog does not have any injuries.

According to the Savannah Police Department, the juvenile is not the owner of the dog. The dog is now back with its owner.

The juvenile will no longer have any contact with the dog, according to SPD.

The name of the juvenile will not be released by SPD. Police say the suspect will receive education on animal endangerment by SPD’s juvenile officers.

Tuesday, WTOC spoke to the director of Chatham County Animal Services to see how they are working to strengthen community partnerships to help crackdown on animal abuse.

One thing happening more aggressively now and in the coming months is an education campaign with Chatham County Animal Services and area law enforcement agencies and the public, to let them know when cases cross the line into animal cruelty and abuse.

Just this week, neighbors alerted police to a case of what officers say qualifies as animal cruelty when they discovered a dead dog tied up to a tree behind a vacant house on Savannah’s east side.

“Those are pretty black and white. We all know we shouldn’t leave dogs tied up like that for a long period of time, restrict their water, restrict their access to food," said Chatham County Animal Services Director Jake Harper. "Those are common sense type things. But sometimes, you can’t necessarily speak to them all the time because you don’t know extenuating circumstances. And I can’t say what happened in that case because it’s still an ongoing investigation.”

Police on the scene said they were looking to who left the dog there, and pursuing charges.

Dr. Harper said unfortunately, cases like this are too often under-reported.

“I don’t know if it’s because they don’t think anything is going to be done, or they aren’t familiar with what the ordinance says. But I think a lot of times it goes back to that educational piece, how serious is it," said Harper.

Harper said their goal isn’t necessarily to cite on sight, rather educate the pet owner.

Here’s a link to the animal ordinance in Chatham County.

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