Crawford County, GA - After a man chose to cut his dog's head off for rabies testing, rather than have a professional do it, a Crawford County Investigator is being investigated for allegedly ensuring that he followed-through on his choice.
The incident occurred Friday evening, Dec. 1, at the residence of Joe Nate Goodwin.
A Crawford County deputy stopped by to investigate a neighbor being bit by Goodwin's dog.
Goodwin said that his two-year-old dog, Big Boy, had lunged at the deputy, who fatally shot the dog near his mailbox in self defense. Goodwin said his girlfriend called him and told him Big Boy had been shot.
He talked with the deputy who shot his dog when he got home, and said they talked about mutual interests. Goodwin said there were no problems until Crawford County Investigator James Hollis showed up with questions about his dog's vaccination records.
Investigator Hollis told Goodwin that the dog needed to be tested for rabies and they called the Crawford County Health Department. The health department explained that the dog's head needed to be removed to be tested for rabies, and they gave Goodwin the option of having the procedure be completed by a vet, or cutting the dog's head off himself.
Goodwin allegedly said that he couldn't afford to call a vet because it was Christmas, he had three children, and money was tight, and he opted to cut the dog's head off himself.
At some point, Goodwin allegedly started screaming profanities at the police and calling them names. Investigator Hollis then allegedly grabbed Goodwin and threatened to arrest him for disorderly conduct if he didn't calm down.
What happened next was partially captured in a short series of videos that Goodwin took and posted to Facebook. The videos have since been removed, but a copy of part of the interaction (with no gore) has been hosted on an anti-police page and can be seen here:
Investigator Hollis then allegedly tried to enforce having Goodwin follow-through with getting the dog tested, saying, "We asked you to remove the dog’s head. And you’re refusing, right?”
Hundreds of calls were made to the CCSO after the videos were shared on social media.
Crawford County Sheriff Lewis Walker said that his deputies should not have been involved in enforcing the testing, which is the responsibility of the Health Department, according to WMAZ.
He confirmed that the dog had charged at a deputy when he arrived, and that "the deputy used his service weapon to put the dog down."
Sheriff Walker also confirmed that Investigator Hollis was present and that it is standard protocol to contact the health department in these situations but that that they are investigating what happened next.
Sheriff Walker said, "We would not transfer an animal in that situation. That’s up to the health department. We would respond, and we would notify them." He said that the county health department should have been present and handled any rabies testing.
Sheriff Walker added, “That shouldn't have been done on the scene, from what I gathered."
Investigator Hollis has been placed on administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.
Police said that they had been called to Goodwin's residence on at least five occasions since 2015, all for dogs and dog bites.
Do you think that Investigator Hollis should face discipline for what happened? We'd like to hear from you. Please let us know in the comments.