In May, Randy DeCarlo, 55, of Lilburn, GA, was issued 24 citations for violating Gwinnett County’s nuisance noise ordinance. He faced the possibility of 6 months in jail for each of the 24 citations for a total of 12 years.
DeCarlo, who runs a state-licensed foster home for unwanted or abused basset hounds and beagles, has been rescuing dogs since 2001 and figures he saved about 250 of them from death. Right now he has about 25; 12 beagles, 12 basset hounds and a Shih Tzu. Many of the dogs he rescues have issues, age or health among other things. Some of them are dogs that would never be able to be adopted, death their only option if not for rescue.
Instead of jail or fines, DeCarlo was sentenced to two years probation and he’ll be able to keep his dogs.
Although an attorney for Gwinnet County requested the court to allow DeCarlo to be limited to only 15 dogs, the judge compromised and let him keep them all on the condition he find some way to limit their barking within 45 days.
The judge cautioned DeCarlo that his probation could be revoked and he could wind up in jail if future complaints are filed about the barking. Should he choose to move out of Gwinnett, the sentence will be dropped, the judge said.
DeCarlo’s Atlanta attorney, Anna Sumner, said she was “thrilled with the result” and added that DeCarlo will not hold grudges against neighbors who brought complaints against him.
About half a dozen animal activists attended the hearing in support of DeCarlo. They said there is a fear among their community that owners of numerous dogs could be forced out of the county with the threat of similar citations.
“A lot of people, if government came knocking on their door, would shrivel up and go away. The dogs they rescued would die,” said Michael Babigian, who has also opened his Gwinnett home to foster dogs. “God bless Randy for being out there and standing up for what’s right.” (AJC)
I’ve been waiting to hear the outcome of this case and am pleased that Randy will not have to give up his dogs to a certain death which would most likely be the case if he had to surrender them to a shelter. Hopefully he can keep his pooches quiet. The rescue community need every Rescue Angel angel it can get, especially those who run ‘sanctuary’.