Putnam County now allowing pit bull rescues

Sheriff's Office policy had been to put dogs down for safety reasons

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PUTNAM COUNTY, Fla. - Putnam County Sheriff's Office Animal Control is now allowing the rescue of pit bulls and pit mixes to authorized dog rescue groups, Sheriff Jeff Hardy announced Wednesday.

The agency had previously not allowed either the adoption or the rescue of the animals for the about 11 years that the Sheriff's Office has supervised Animal Control in Putnam County, citing safety reasons.

"Changing our procedure to allow for the rescue of pit's and pit mixes has been under consideration by agency management since late February of this year," Hardy said. "Our biggest concerns in crafting a new policy were how to determine the legitimacy of individual rescue groups and how to identify dogs that were good candidates for rescue as opposed to those that were not good candidates and might represent a danger to the public."

Advocates of pit bull breeds began speaking up earlier this month, saying the county had no right to sign a dog's death sentence based purely on appearance.

Hardy said when the Sheriff's Office began discussions with Jen Watson, of the Pit Sisters Rescue Group, about three weeks ago, he found that there were some options that would allow the Sheriff's Office to make the adjustment.

"With her help, we have put a plan into effect that will allow for their rescue by authorized groups," Hardy said. "In fact, we have already arranged for the rescue of seven dogs through Pit Sisters in the past week. As an animal lover myself, I am very happy that we have reached a workable solution that will make the rescue of these dogs possible."

Any rescue group that is interested in helping rescue pit bulls and pit mixes from Putnam County Animal Control is invited to apply. Application forms are available at Animal Control and online on the Sheriff's Office website at www.pcso.us. For further information, call Putnam County Animal Control at 386-329-0396.

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