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Frequently Asked Questions

Animal Control

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Is my dog safe in the car?

A car's interior heats up by an average of 40° within an hour, regardless of the temperature outside. Temperature does not matter - it is whether it is sunny out.  80% of the temperature rise occurs within the first half hour. Even on a cool day, the temperature inside a parked car can quickly spike to life-threatening levels if the sun is out. Precautions such as cracking a window or running the air conditioner prior to parking the car were found to be inadequate. See temperature chart here.

What happens after I file a bite report?

An Animal Control Officer will contact the owner of the animal and inform them of the incident. The owner will be advised of the quarantine requirement for a vicious animal. The owner can choose to quarantine their animal at Cherokee County Animal Shelter for the 10-day quarantine period or at a veterinarian’s office. The owner must comply with the quarantine. If the animal is quarantined at a vet clinic, Animal Control must be notified of the vet clinic’s location and Animal Control will contact them to ensure the 10-day quarantine is followed.


If the owner requests their animal be housed at Cherokee County Animal Shelter, it will be placed in an isolation area for the 10-day quarantine period. During that time employees of the Animal Shelter will care for the animal. The owner can visit their animal but must contact the Animal Shelter office to arrange a date and time. The owner can also request that the animal is euthanized. If the animal is euthanized, its remains will be sent to State Lab for rabies testing. After the confinement period is over or Animal Control / Shelter has been notified of the rabies test results, the victim and the owner will be notified of the lab results. If the animal cannot be immediately located, humane Havahart traps will be

placed in the area of the incident.


If an animal attack occurs, and there is no related injury, a citation will be issued to the animal’s owner. The 10-day quarantine will not be required.


What do I do if my dog or cat bites or scratches someone?

First, determine if there is an injury that has broken the skin. If so, you will be required to make a decision about the future of your pet. Confinement is a must under the Cherokee County Animal Control Ordinance. This quarantine/confinement is necessary for 10 days. You can choose to quarantine the animal at your vet or the Cherokee County Animal Shelter. If you choose not to keep the animal because of the bite, you can request that the animal is put to sleep and tested for rabies. Neither of these options is pleasant, but because of the potential for a rabies exposure and/or liability on your part, you must make the decision that is best for your situation. The Animal Shelter does not normally adopt out animals that have bitten or scratched, but every situation is considered individually. 


If the bite or scratch location did not bleed, we consider it an attack that may result in a citation but the 10-day quarantine is not required.

What animals carry rabies?

Carnivores such as fox, skunk, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, and wolf could have the rabies virus without showing any signs. These carnivores should not be handled even if injured. Any exposure to these animals should be reported to Animal Control so that a report can be made and the animal should be tested.


Livestock such as cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, goats, swine, and sheep are not likely to have rabies. However, exposure to saliva from livestock infected with rabies is a concern. If at the time of the exposure the animal is clinically ill with signs suggestive of rabies then treatment and testing must be weighed against the circumstances of exposure. Involve your doctor and the Georgia Poison Control Center in the decision of treatment and testing. Reports of livestock bites are not normally filed with Animal Control.

Bats that bite or scratch a person or domestic animal carry a high risk of rabies exposure. If you or your pets have been bitten or scratched by a bat, contact the Animal Control Unit immediately. If you locate a bat inside your home and are not sure if a bite or scratch has occurred contact Animal Control for guidance before disposing of the bat.


Dogs, cats, and ferrets should always be vaccinated against rabies. Although these animals are not born with rabies they can be exposed and cause a risk to humans. Larger animals such as dogs, cats and ferrets can survive an attack by a rabid animal and contract rabies. The state requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or scratch an open wound be confined for a ten (10) day quarantine period. The ten day period is necessary to observe the animal for any signs of rabies.


Small animals and rodents such as squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice, gophers, moles, rabbits, and hares seldom survive an attack from a rabid animal and do not normally carry rabies. Any bite or scratch from these animals should be treated, but Animal Control does not take reports or confine these animals for rabies testing.


For additional information about a particular incident contact Animal Control at 678-493-6200

How do I file a complaint about a loose animal?

You can call 678-493-4080 and request an Animal Control Officer be dispatched to handle the complaint regarding a stray or loose animal.

How do I file a complaint about barking dogs?

To file a complaint about a barking dog or a nuisance animal, call 678-493-4080 during the hours of 8:00 am to 9:00 pm and request that an Animal Control Officer be dispatched to handle the complaint. During the hours of 9:00 pm to 8:00 am, contact the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number 678-493-4080 and the local law enforcement agency will assist with the complaint.

What do I have to do to reclaim my animal from Animal Control?

The owner must go to the Animal Shelter during normal hours to reclaim the pet. You must bring an I.D. (Driver’s License or Georgia I. D.) and proof of ownership such as vet records.

What are my liabilities concerning property damage or personal injury regarding my pet?

Any pet you have that damages property or injures another animal or a human could result in criminal and/or civil action against the owner. If a citation is issued regarding a county ordinance or state law violation, restitution can be demanded in addition to the court fine at the time of your hearing. In addition, the citizen who is injured or has property damage can seek civil litigation.

What constitutes a "barking dog"?

The Cherokee County Ordinance addressing barking dogs is in the Nuisance section of Cherokee County Ordinance “… an animal which habitually barks, whines, howls or causes objectionable noise:…”

Where do I go to pay a fine for an animal violation?

Contact the Cherokee County Magistrate office at 678.493.6431 for payment requirements regarding citations issued by the Animal Control Units.

How long do you hold animals?

Strays are held five (5) business days prior to the animal being deemed property of Cherokee County, in accordance with Cherokee County Ordinance. After that time, animals are held for an indefinite period of time. If space is available and the animal is healthy and not aggressive, the animal will be held until adoption or until its status changes. Animals turned into the shelter by their owner that meet the requirements for adoption will remain adoptable as long as space is available and the animal remains healthy and non-aggressive.

I found a card or notice at my residence from Animal Control. What does this mean?

The form or card is to let you know that we either received a complaint of a possible violation of the Cherokee County Animal Control Ordinance at your address; to give you information on a complaint you made; or to give you information on an animal related problem in your area. If you have any questions, please contact the Animal Control office at 678-493-6200.

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