Forsyth County leaders consider proposal to protect pets

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A dog's death at a groomer sparks outrage. Now the community and Forsyth County leaders are trying to find a way to protect other pets. 

Last October, Meko, a Portuguese Water dog, went to Paw'sh Paws in Cumming. When his owner came to pick him up, Meko was unresponsive. Eric Francis rushed Meko to an animal hospital, Meko was dead. 

RELATED: Police: Grooming store owner accused of choking, kicking, and dragging dog, leading to its death

"My son and his mother struggle each day, simply because Meko isn't there.  A piece of everybody's heart disappeared," said Francis. 

The owner of Paw'sh Paws, Michelle Root, was arrested and charged with Felony Animal Abuse after others went to police about what they said they witnessed.  After her arrest, Police said tips started coming in leading to a second felony charge against Root. 

Animal lovers and county leaders are taking steps to make sure our pets are safe. They're considering an ordinance which would include background checks or permits for the owner or manager of a facility that cares for animals. 

"With that permit, it's their responsibility to report any abuse in the facility or if anyone brings an animal to them that has been abused," said Forsyth County Commissioner Todd Levent.

Levent said they're also looking at setting up a hotline so people can anonymously report animal abuse.

Francis said he knows that none of this will be Meko back, but he's pleased some action is being taken to protect pets.

"Laws around the nation and in Georgia need to be stronger. We need to give our judges, our police sharper teeth to take a bite out of crime because we can't continue to see our animals abused," said Francis. 

County Commissioners and members of the community have been discussing this for months and could vote on a proposed ordinance within the month.

RELATED: Dog groomer facing second animal cruelty charge after new allegations