Bartow County Animal Control Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if a dog or cat bites or scratches me? All bites or scratches, where the skin is punctured and bleeding occurs, is a possible rabies exposure. The first concern is your immediate injury. If the injury is severe, call 911 immediately for medical attention. 911 will notify Animal Control of the bite, and an Animal Control Officer will respond. If you are taken to the hospital, the Animal Control Officer may meet you at the hospital or contact you when you return home. If the bite/scratch is not severe, wash the area with soap and water for ten minutes. Contact your doctor for any further advice on treatment. Your doctor may recommend a Tetanus shot if you have not had one lately, and you may need antibiotics to control a risk of infection.

What happens after I file a bite report? An Animal Control Officer will contact the owner of the animal and inform them of the bite/scratch if they are not already aware of the situation. The owner will be advised of the quarantine required for a biting/scratching animal. The owner can choose to quarantine their animal at Bartow County Animal Control for the 10-day quarantine period or at a vet. The owner will be given a deadline for complying. If the animal is quarantined at a vet clinic, Animal Control must be notified of what vet clinic, and Animal Control will contact them to make sure they know the time period. The owner can request that their animal be housed at Bartow County Animal Control Shelter. The animal will be placed in the kennel in the isolation area for the 10-day quarantine period. During that time employees of Animal Control will care for the animal. The owner can also request that the animal be put to sleep. If the animal is put to sleep, we will send the animal to the state lab for rabies testing. After the confinement period is over or Animal Control has been notified of the rabies test results, the victim and the owner will be notified of the findings. If the animal can not be immediately located, Humane traps will be set for the animal.

What animals carry rabies? Carnivores, such as foxes, skunks, raccoons, bobcats, coyotes and wolves, are not legal to possess and could have the rabies virus without showing any signs. These carnivores should not be handled even if an infant is injured. Any rabies exposure to these animals should be reported to Animal Control so that a report can be made and the animal can be tested. Humane traps can be set to attempt to capture the animal, if it is not already contained.

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 are of great concern regarding potential rabies. Protect yourself when containing the bat and call Animal Control to have a report made and to pick up the bat for rabies testing. 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 as some carnivores are, they can be exposed and be of risk to humans. Larger animals, such as dogs, cats and ferrets, can survive an attack of a rabid animal and contract rabies. The state requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or scratch be confined for a 10-day quarantine period. The 10-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.

If you need additional information about a particular incident, contact Animal Control at (770) 387-5153.

What do I do if my dog or cat bites someone? You will be required to make a decision about the future of your pet. Confinement is a must under the Bartow County Animal Control Ordinance. This quarantine/confinement is necessary for 10 days. You can choose to quarantine the animal at your vet or the Bartow County Animal Control Shelter. If you do not choose to keep the animal because of the bite, you can request that the animal be tested for rabies or put to sleep. Either of these options is not 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. Animal Control does not normally adopt out animals that have bitten or scratched, but every situation is considered individually.

What can I do about nuisance animals? Bartow County Animal Control has Humane traps available at no cost to citizens of Bartow County to assist in the trapping of nuisance animals. You may want to call the Animal Control Shelter Front Office at (770) 387-5153 to make sure a trap is available. Humane traps do not injure the animals. The traps are set for a one-week period. The time can be extended if the demand is not great at the time you need the trap. The size of the trap depends on the size of animal you are trapping.

Can I trap stray or wild animals in my yard? It is lawful for you to use these traps to capture unwanted nuisance animals on your property as long as you provide them with adequate food, water and shelter until they can be transported to Bartow County Animal Control. Also, it is important that you give Animal Control personnel any information you have about the owner of the animal.

How do I file a complaint about loose animals? You can call (770) 387-5153 and request an Animal Control Officer be dispatched to handle the complaint.

How do I file a complaint about barking dogs? You can call (770) 387-5153 during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and request that an Animal Control Officer be dispatched to handle the complaint. During the hours of 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. contact Bartow County 911 non-emergency number (770) 387-5195, and a road officer will be dispatched to handle the complaint.

What do I do if my animal is missing? The best way to locate your missing animal is to come to the Animal Shelter during the shelter's business hours to look for your pet. The shelter is open Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m, Tuesday 1:00 p.m to 4:45 pm, closed on weekends and holidays. We are sorry, but no information can be given over the phone.

When you come to the shelter, bring any pictures of the pet and any vet records. This will help Animal Control employees in the identification of your pet if found in the shelter. If the pet is not found in the shelter, the employees will assist you in filling out a lost report and how to continue your search for your lost pet.

The best way to ensure the safe return of your lost pet is for the pet to wear a collar with an I.D. tag and/or rabies tag or to be micro-chipped. If the animal can be identified in the field by the Animal Control Officer, it is likely that the pet will be returned to the owner and not taken to the Animal Control Shelter when at all possible. When the animal is turned in to the Animal Control shelter, personnel will also attempt to contact the owner with the information provided on the tag or chip as soon as possible.

Please remember animals will sometimes lose their tags or have them removed by someone. Even if your animal leaves home wearing a collar and tags, there is always a chance the collar may not be on the animal when it is picked up. Well-meaning citizens may take the collar off to get a better look at the tag, and the animal may escape before they can put the collar back on. Do not rely on the tag to be on the animal when it arrives at the Animal Control Shelter.

What do I have to do to reclaim my animal from Animal Control? The owner must go to the Animal Control Shelter during regular business 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.

Are animal licensed in Bartow County? Bartow County Animal Control does not license pets, but requires all animals to wear a current rabies tag.

What do I need to do to adopt a pet? See Bartow County Humane Society.

What are my liabilities concerning property damage or personal injury regarding my pet? Any pet that damages property or injures another animal or human could result in criminal and/or civil action against the owner. If a citation is issued regarding an Animal Control 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 damaged can sue you in civil court.

What constitutes a “barking dog”? It is in violation for a dog to bark in a manner that disturbs the peace of a neighborhood. We are aware that dogs will bark when they see something or someone. We look for a cause of the dog’s barking or whether the dog is barking for no reason. The Bartow County Ordinance addresses barking dogs in the Public Nuisance section Ordinance Section III-30-D: “… Any animal that makes disturbing noises, including but not limited to, continued and repeated howling, barking, whining or other utterances…”

What constitutes “cruelty to animal”? Pet owners must provide proper food, water and shelter for animals at all times. Animals are also considered to be cruelly treated if they are mistreated by acts of violence. Bartow County Animal Control Ordinance Section IV and Section VI addresses cruelties and the details.

My pet has died; how do I dispose of the body? Bartow County Animal Control requires that you dispose of the animal's body on your own property within 12 hours of death. It should be buried at least three feet below ground level.

Where do I go to pay a fine for an animal violation? Some violations are payable prior to the court date. Contact Bartow County Magistrate Court to see if the citation you have can be paid prior to the court date.

How long do you hold animals? Strays are held five working days (Animal Control working days). After that, they are determined to be property of Bartow County – by County Ordinance Section X. The animals are then held for an indefinite period of time. If space is available and the animal is healthy and not aggressive.

Animals turned into the shelter by their owner will remain as long as we have space and the animal remains healthy and non-aggressive. Because space must be available for strays who are brought to the shelter, some animals are unfortunately pulled to provide space even if healthy and non-aggressive.

Can I bring my animal to Bartow County Animal Control? Yes, but we would love to provide you with other options before you resort to bringing your animal to us. Sometimes the issue that is causing you to contemplate getting rid of your pet can be resolved with additional information about your particular animal or assistance from a rescue group.

Why is Bartow County Animal Control asking me about nuisance animals in my neighborhood? Sometimes it is not possible for an Animal Control Officer to witness a violation, but that does not mean that the violation does not occur. We will ask for neighborhood help to document problems so that we can address them. Also if we do not witness the violation, the neighbor that does witness the incident may be the only witness we have for a court case.

I found a yellow card on my door; what does it mean? This card is used to advise you that a complaint has been issued against your residence and you are being warned about a possible violation of a certain area of the Animal Control Ordinance. You can contact the Animal Control Officer to find out more details about the complaint. Warnings do not have to be issued before a citation is given, but when possible we like to advise citizens of a violation and ways to correct it before court action is taken.

A yellow card can also mean: This card provides information, usually because you have called Animal Control with a complaint. There are times when you are not home when your issue is addressed, and we want you to know that we have been out and have tried to address the problem.