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Animal Education

General Questions

My pet has died, how do I dispose of the body?

Cobb County Animal Services Ordinance Section 10-7 requires that you dispose of the animal body on your own property within 12 hours of death. It should be buried at least three feet below ground level. Details are listed in this ordinance section. You may also bring the animal’s body to the Cobb County Animal Services Shelter for disposal.

Are animals licensed in Cobb County?

Cobb County Animal Services does not license pets, but requires all animals to wear a current rabies tag.

Animals in Hot Vehicles

Heat stroke is commonly seen in animals left in a vehicle. A dog can die in as little as twenty minutes in a car parked in direct sun (Gregory 2004). Several studies have been conducted on the internal heating of automobiles under different conditions.

In 85 ° F ambient temperature, the temperature inside a car, even with the windows left slightly open, can reach 102 ° F in ten minutes and 120 ° F in thirty minutes (API 2005). A study using a dark blue sedan with medium gray interior was conducted under ambient temperatures ranging between 72 ° F and 96 ° F. The study found that the average temperature rose 3.2 ° F per five-minute interval: 3.4 ° F with the windows closed; 3.1 ° F with the windows open 1.5 inches. The interior temperature reached its maximum in sixty minutes with 80% of the rise within the first thirty minutes regardless of the outside temperature. Even at the lowest ambient temperature the internal vehicle temperature reached 117 ° F with an average maximum increase of approximately 41 ° F (McLaren, Null, and Quinn 2005).

Another study was conducted using a dark colored sedan and light colored minivan. The conditions were 93 ° F ambient temperature, partly cloudy, and 53% relative humidity. The study found that within twenty minutes both cars exceeded 125 ° F and reached approximately 140 ° F in forty minutes (Gibbs, Lawrence, and Kohn 1995). The exterior color of the vehicle does not seem to make a difference to the internal temperature in the passenger compartment, but darker-colored cars have a higher temperature in the trunk (Di Maio and Di Maio 2001). The heating of dark colored interior components can reach 180 ° F to more than 200 ° F, which heats the adjacent air by conduction and convection (McLaren, Null, and Quinn 2005). Shade vs. direct sun can make a difference on the inside temperature. None of the studies found that lowering the windows had any significant effect on the inside temperature unless they were fully open.

Dogs with heat stress start to pant. Then they begin to salivate and their tongue hangs out of their mouth. When the rectal temperature reaches 105 ° F, there is loss of equilibrium, and uncontrolled hyperpyrexia (abnormally high fever) may occur. The dog becomes excited and starts to bark. At 109 ° F the dog becomes ataxic (loss of coordination) with possible abdominal swelling from aerophagia (excess air swallowing which goes to the stomach), and collapses (Gregory 2004). Cats have a limited ability to sweat and primarily sweat in their pads. The cat will first pant through its nose. When the rectal temperature reaches 103 ° F, the cat starts open-mouthed panting. The cat may groom to spread saliva for evaporation cooling (Gregory 2004).

The range of clinical signs that occurs in dogs with heat stroke includes: rapid breathing, excessive panting, severe respiratory distress, dehydration, vomiting which may become bloody, diarrhea which may become bloody, collapse, mental depression, coma, and/ or seizures. Seizures occur less frequently than mental depression and coma.

A dog that is exposed to extremely high temperatures in a locked car on a sunny day will die more quickly than one that dies from other causes of heat stroke. Because these dogs die more quickly, the range of clinical signs may be more limited than in dogs that are not exposed to this environmental extreme.

(2012-09-27). Veterinary Forensics: Animal Cruelty Investigations. Wiley. Kindle Edition.

Preventing a Dog Bite

Why do dogs bite?

There are a few reasons that dogs bite. A dog bites because it is trying to tell you something. If you know why dogs bite and what to do and not to do you can hopefully avoid being bitten by a dog.

  1. Scared or frightened – If a dog is scared, it might bite you if you approach it or try to pet it.
  2. Protective (female dog with puppies or protecting yard) – You should never try to pet a mother dog while she is with her puppies. She might think you are trying to take her puppy and will become protective. Dogs also become protective of their yards. If you go into the yard with a dog that does not know you, it could try to bite because it thinks you are trespassing.
  3. Accident – Sometimes a dog might get too excited as it is playing and accidentally bite you. The dog did not mean to harm you. 
  4. Sick or injured – If an animal is sick or injured, do not touch it. The animal will be in a lot of pain and does not want to be touched. You need to tell an adult if you find a dog that is sick or injured. They can find someone to help the animal that has the knowledge and experience to handle an animal that is hurting.

Basic Do's and Don'ts


  • Care for your dog by giving it water and food each day.
  • Walk the dog and give it plenty of exercise.
  • Pet the dog in the direction the fur grows.
  • Confine the dog when a friend comes by. This could keep your friend from being bitten.
  • Spend time with your dog so that it does not become lonely.


  • You should not approach, touch or play with any dog that is sleeping, eating, chewing on a toy or bone, or caring for puppies. Animals are more likely to bite if they’re startled, frightened or caring for young.
  • Pull a dog’s ears or tail, climb on or try to ride dogs.
  • Encourage your dog to play aggressively.
  • Ride your dog around.
  • Drag the dog.
  • Take items from the dog. Dogs do not know how to share and can become possessive of their toys.

What to do around a strange dog

When you see a loose dog there are a few things that you should do. You should never run up to a dog and try to pet it or grab it. You do not know if the dog is friendly.

If a loose dog comes near you, you should not run or scream. Instead, you should avoid eye contact with the dog and stand very still, like a tree, until the animal moves away. Once the dog loses interest, you can slowly back away.

If you fall down or you are knocked to the ground by a dog, you should curl up in a ball with your knees tucked into your stomach, and fingers interlocked behind your neck to protect your neck and ears.

The best advice is to avoid all strange dogs. If you do not know the dog, try to stay away from it.

What to do around a dog with an owner

You should not pet unfamiliar dogs without asking permission from the dog’s guardian first.

Don’t pet a dog without allowing it to see and sniff you first. Always hold out your fist and never an open hand.

The dog may seem fine with its owner, but not like being petted by strangers. The dog owner should know whether the dog will bite. If the dog owner says the dog will bite, do not try to pet the dog anyway.

What to do around your dog

You know your dog, love your dog, and play with your dog every day. You still have to be careful around your dog so that you are not bitten.

Your dog will want to play with you but when the dog leaves, he leaves. Just like you the dog will get tired of playing, but he will play later. When the dog does not want to play, the dog might become aggravated if you keep bothering it.


Cobb County is home to a vast array of wildlife. The most common are squirrels, chipmunks, birds, opossums, snakes, etc. We also have coyotes and foxes. These animals you will not see as much. Occasionally in the spring you will see a young bear. This is rare but it does happen. We have a wide variety of species in the county. These animals pose little threat to humans, but they can become a nuisance.

There are certain things that you can do to deter wildlife from coming onto your property.

  • Do not place garbage bags on the curb until the morning of pick-up.
  • Secure basement vents and hatch doors.
  • Lock or remove pet doors, especially between dusk and dawn.
  • If wildlife is coming around bird feeders remove the bird feeder for a couple of weeks.
  • Do not feed pets or stray animals outside. This will attract wildlife.
  • Do not allow your pets to roam free.
  • Provide a safe outdoor enclosure or keep them as inside pets.
  • Remove debris such as limbs that are piled up.

Doing the simple things, listed above, will help keep wildlife from coming onto your property. It will also keep you and your animals safe.

The county does not respond to wildlife calls; however, if the animal is injured or is causing an immediate threat to public safety Animal Services will respond. You can call our office at 770-499-4136, and if the situation is an emergency call 911.

There are a few additional resources for wildlife:

Georgia Department of Natural Resources is the state agency that is charged with handling the state’s natural resources.

Atlanta Wild Animal Rescue Effort – AWARE Wildlife Center rehabilitates Georgia’s injured and orphaned native wildlife and educates the community about habitat preservation and peaceful coexistence. AWARE is one of the few centers in Georgia that rehabilitates all wildlife species.

What Animals Carry Rabies?

Carnivores such as fox, skunk, raccoon, bobcat, coyote, and wolf could have the rabies virus without showing any signs. These carnivores should not be handled even if injured. Any exposure to these animals should be reported to Animal Services so that a report can be made and the animal should be tested.

Livestock such as cattle, horses, mules, donkeys, goats, swine, and sheep are not likely to have rabies. However, exposure to saliva from livestock infected with rabies is a concern. If at the time of the exposure the animal is clinically ill with signs suggestive of rabies then treatment and testing must be weighed against the circumstances of exposure. Involve your doctor and the Georgia Poison Control Center in the decision of treatment and testing. Reports of livestock bites are not normally filed with Animal Services.

Bats that bite or scratch a person or domestic animal carry a high risk of rabies exposure. If you or your pets have been bitten or scratched by a bat, contact the Animal Services Unit immediately. If you locate a bat inside your home and are not sure if a bite or scratch has occurred contact Animal Services for guidance before disposing of the bat.

Dogs, cats and ferrets should always be vaccinated against rabies. Although these animals are not born with rabies they can be exposed and cause a risk to humans. Larger animals such as dogs, cats and ferrets can survive an attack of a rabid animal and contract rabies. The state requires that all dogs, cats, and ferrets that bite or scratch an open wound be confined for a ten (10) day quarantine period. The ten day period is necessary to observe the animal for any signs of rabies. Domestic animals should be vaccinated by twelve weeks of age.

Small animals and rodents such as squirrels, hamsters, guinea pigs, gerbils, chipmunks, rats, mice gophers, moles rabbits and hares seldom survive an attack from a rabid animal and do not normally carry rabies. Any bite or scratch from these animals should be treated, but Animal Services does not take reports or confine these animals for rabies testing.

If you need additional information about a particular incident contact Animal Services at (770) 499-4136.

Have an Officer Speak at Your School Event

Each year Animal Services attends events such as Careers on Wheels at local schools. To have an officer for your school event contact Jessica Darrough at  or call 770-590-5602.


Community Resources

Spay Georgia – Low cost spay/neuter services for pet guardians in financial need.

Humane Society of Cobb County – Must live in Cobb County. Reduced cost spay/neuter for lower income residents only.
148 Fairground Street
Marietta, GA 30008

Project Catsnip – Mobile lost cost spay/neuter.

Atlanta Humane Society - Multiple services.
Pet Hotline: 404-875-5331

Georgia Animal Project
310 Gilmer Ferry Rd
Ball Ground, GA 30107

West Georgia Spay/Neuter Clinic
525 E. Montgomery St, Suite B
Villa Rica, GA 30180