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Franklin County hires dog warden

June 23, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - For the past eight years, Georgia Martin has been enforcing animal cruelty laws in Franklin County, Pa. Beginning July 6, she will become the county's new dog law enforcement officer.

Chris Herr, deputy secretary of agriculture for regulatory programs, announced Tuesday that Martin was hired to replace former Dog Warden Denny Burns.

As a Humane Society police officer, the Quincy Township woman was not a state employee, but had police powers relating to animal cruelty cases.

"I have the power to cite, arrest and prosecute my own cases," Martin said Tuesday at the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg.

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One of her more noteworthy cases was Rascal, a dog found in a dumpster in October 1996, in Greencastle, Pa.

"It took me a couple of months to break that case," Martin said.

The woman who threw her dog away pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, according to Martin.

"She said the dog annoyed her," Martin said.

When she goes on the job next month, Martin will be in charge of enforcing Pennsylvania's dog laws. Herr said her duties will include inspecting animal shelters and private kennels, enforcing dangerous dog provisions, investigating dog bite cases, enforcing licensing, leash and rabies vaccination laws, and picking up strays.

Martin was working for a local bank when her career changed.

"I had the opportunity to help the animal shelter in a case involving cruelty to horses," she said. An animal shelter called her to help move some mistreated horses because she had a trailer.

A few months later, the animal cruelty officer position became available and Martin was hired.

"It's been my most gratifying work to date," Martin said.

She said she will work hard to make dog owners aware of the importance of having their animals licensed and vaccinated.

Martin said she looks forward to helping police in cases where they need a person trained in handling aggressive dogs.

Herr said the job pays about $25,000 a year.

In the absence of a dog warden since Jan. 30, wardens from neighboring counties and police have been handling most calls in the county.

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