Animal control, the sheriff’s department and battling the “Cow Problem”


There’s an issue in Habersham County with cows, and different giant livestock, placing out on their very own for strolls outdoors their pastures. While it’d sound like simply one other allure of rural Georgia, escaped cows are dangers to the security of Habersham’s drivers, farmers and public security.

“We have a big problem . . . with cows escaping their pastures and getting into roadways,” Habersham County Animal Care and Control Director Madi Nix says. “Because we are a very rural area, this is more common than one might think.”

“The Cow Problem” is an issue animal management doesn’t deal with alone. The sheriff’s workplace is normally concerned with, too, as the departments work in tandem to corral wandering cows and different livestock.

“We deal with cows and other livestock all the time,” Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell says. “Dispatch has a ‘cow’ book with names of folks who own animals in areas of the county.”

Nix says this problem occurs most frequently with black cows, that are exhausting to see and pose a menace to the security of Habersham drivers.

“Some of the issues that we’ve had with livestock or with cows, in particular, is the immediate danger of somebody hitting one of these animals,” Nix says. “Either in the night or coming around the corner on that can be deadly. If somebody hits a cow in a vehicle, it’s a lot different than hitting a dog, per se.”

Habersham County Animal Control employees corall cows with HCACC autos off of a roadway. (Madi Nix/HCACC)

It isn’t simply the security of drivers, escaped cows are sometimes bulls who’re on-edge, and are a security danger to the animal management employees and officers coping with them. Those escaped livestock may wreak havoc on different citizen’s farms, particularly these with crops.

“We also have a big issue with folks that do hold these livestock not taking us seriously when officers are making contact in regards to the violation,” Nix says. “We get a lot of ‘It’s a cow, this is farmland, get over it.’ But not only are people’s lives in danger when they [cows] get into the roadway, but we have had citizens that rely on crops that have had their crops destroyed by neighbors’ cattle roaming onto their property.”

What occurs with escaped cattle?

Nix says that normally, the cow is claimed and introduced again to its pasture pretty rapidly. But typically, it’s exhausting to trace down the proprietor, even with the “cow book.”

“Every now and then we can’t find an owner and cow won’t stay out of the road,” Terrell says. “[The] last resort is getting with Madi and doing something with it.”

Nix and Terrell have needed to work collectively to get a cow right into a rented trailer and take it to a pasture the place it might keep till it was reclaimed. The county’s shelter and animal management services don’t have a paddock or a transport car for livestock, although it’s a problem Nix says they take care of regularly.

“The sheriff’s department nor animal control has the time or the ability to sit and babysit a cow for six hours while we make sure he tries not to get into the road,” Nix says. What the responders usually must do in that state of affairs is take the cow to a close-by pasture and ask the property proprietor to maintain the cow throughout a holding interval.

“If within that holding time the owner is not found, if whatever animal that person has been holding for us wants keep it, we’ll go ahead and do a transfer to that person,” she says.

Nix is hopeful that the county’s new animal shelter, which is included in the present SPLOST funds, may have an space for livestock to attend to be reclaimed.

What to do if you see misplaced livestock

Nix and Terrell each say that in case you do spot a cow, or every other sort of livestock out wandering in the roads, name the non-emergency dispatch line at (706) 839-0570. Do not name 911.

“When someone sees a cow or animal out [in the road] they should call dispatch and report it,” Terrell says. “If they know the owner, it would be great if they contacted them too.”

By reaching out to the non-emergency dispatch line, E-911 operators will be capable of dispatch whichever sheriff’s officer or animal management officer is closest to take care of the misplaced livestock. Nix says if there’s misplaced livestock in your property, calling animal management instantly at (706) 839-0195 is a greater technique of contact.