Two white male animal control officers wearing dark green standing with an elderly black maleWalton County Animal Control responded to an elderly man’s home who was having trouble keeping his livestock contained. Instead of citing him, they decide to lend a helping hand.

Over the last few months, animal control officers have received complaints regarding goats roaming into neighbors’ yards on Elmwood Road in Mossy Head. Animal Control Officer Cary Miller responded to the area and soon formed a friendship with the goat’s owner. An elderly veteran who had served twenty years in the United States Army.\

“I explained the situation and that neighbors were complaining about his goats getting out of the fence,” says Miller. “He was always incredibly apologetic. Told me he was doing his best to keep them contained, but he had health issues that limited his ability to do manual work.”

After speaking with the resident for a while, ACO Miller learned the owner had lost his home in a fire in November of 2022, and he was just now getting back on his feet.

“I noticed his animals were well taken care of, but I did give him the option to surrender the animals to the shelter if they were too much for him to continue care for considering all the hardships he’d been through recently,” says Miller. “He didn’t want to give them up, and I could tell he cared for his animals. So, I knew we had to help.”

Animal Control Officers Cary Miller, CJ Eastling, and Animal Control Supervisor Joe Everett used their own money to gather up fencing materials to donate to the owner of the goats.

On Wednesday, April 12, 2023, Animal Control Officers Miller and Eastling went to the elderly man’s home on Elmwood Road and helped mend the fence housing the owner’s goats and chickens using the materials they purchased.

“He was incredibly appreciative. He told us he believed in doing the right thing and offered to give us money for the materials, but we weren’t expecting anything in return. We were doing this, because we care about our community and the people we serve,” says Miller. “A lot of people think poorly of animal control officers. They think we’re just here to take their animals and write citations, and although we do that, when necessary, we are here to solve problems. Our goal is to reunite animals with their owners, to ensure animals are cared for, but most importantly, we’re here to help the members of our community in any way we can.”