Veterans claim service animals were wrongfully killed at the Henry Co.

HENRY COUNTY, Ga. (CBS46) – A veteran claims his service animal was euthanized at a Henry County shelter while he was on vacation.

For Leon Washington, Rocko, his two-year-old dog, is more than just a pet. He is family. The American Bulldog is also a support animal for Washington, who has been living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since his time in the United States Marine Corps.

“It’s a really tough man, like, really tough,” Washington said. “He put me at ease. People show love in a way. Dogs show love in a different way, and killing a dog for its breed is unnecessary.”

Washington said Rocko ran away from their Ellenwood home the day before the family left for Hawaii. When they landed on June 7, Washington received a notification from chip maker Rocko, saying someone had dropped the dog at the Henry County Zoo.

Washington said he called the shelter and a staff member told him Rocko could stay at the shelter until he returned from vacation. However, there will be a daily fee of $5.

“I said, ‘Are you sure he’ll be fine until I get back,'” Washington recalls. “She said, ‘Yes.’ I said, ‘Are you sure he’ll be fine until I get back?’ She said, “Yes, just make sure you get in when you come back.”

When Washington went to pick up Rocko last Wednesday, he was told the shelter had killed the dog the day before. Washington said employees told him “several unrecognized breeds” were brought down after four days at the shelter, excluding Sundays and county holidays.

“The only thing they could say to me was, ‘I’m sorry,’ Washington said. “That doesn’t bring him back. This is my friend. “

Henry County Animal Care and Control is a division of the Henry County Sheriff’s Department. In an email to CBS46, a spokesperson confirmed a citizen moved Rocko into the shelter on June 7. The spokesperson said multiple attempts have been made to contact Washington but to no avail. fruit.

“On June 14, 2022, Henry County Animal Care and Control Policies/Procedures were followed, resulting in the dog’s death,” he added.

Henry County has an ordinance that states that if an animal is not reclaimed by its owner within four days, it will be transferred to control of the animal and may be subject to eviction. “Immediately passed, destroyed or otherwise disposed of.”

“It’s not nice to kill these dogs like that man,” Washington said. “It’s not cool at all. There needs to be another way. There needs to be another way.”

Washington said he hasn’t received many calls from the shelter. He warned animal lovers who may encounter a stray dog, to make sure the shelter they drop the animal into is a no-kill shelter. He said if he knew Rocko was in danger of death, he would do everything in his power to get someone to marry him.

“Try to find a Humane Society, no-kill shelter or something to bring those animals in because in Henry County, if you take them to their shelter and no one picks them up within the timeframe, their time, they’ll kill them,” Washington added.

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