Un­em­ploy­ment con­tin­ues down­ward trend in Polk, area

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL - Staff re­ports Edi­tor Kevin Myrick and the Rome News-Tri­bune’s Doug Walker contributed to this story.

A lo­cal dog was re­cently re­turned to its owner af­ter Polk County’s com­mis­sion­ers de­clared the an­i­mal not dan­ger­ous in a for­mal hear­ing. Since the Pit­bull-Lab mix was re­spon­si­ble for the in­jury of an­other dog, the hear­ing helped to high­light some of the bound­aries of the Dan­ger­ous Dog Or­di­nance.

The most com­mon re­sult of dan­ger­ous dog hear­ings stems from bod­ily harm in­flicted on other an­i­mals or hu­mans by the dog, but the law also con­sid­ers those which en­gage in an­i­mal fight­ing, act ag­gres­sively with bites or at­tacks, in­flict prop­erty dam­age, or pro­voke in­di­vid­u­als with­out prompt to be dan­ger­ous.

Sim­ply bark­ing, growl­ing, or show­ing teeth isn’t enough to clas­sify a dog as a threat.

“They need to con­tact us (an­i­mal con­trol) if they think they have a dan­ger­ous an­i­mal,” Polk County An­i­mal Con­trol Di­rec­tor Jeff Craw­ford said. “Some of the warn­ing signs are ag­gres­sive­ness to­wards hu­mans, other an­i­mals-in­clud­ing cats. Most dogs don’t like cats, but if they’re ag­gres­sive to­wards hu­mans and other an­i­mals, that could be signs of a dan­ger­ous dog. Any an­i­mal that’s got a mouth is ca­pa­ble of bit­ing and be­ing con­sid­ered dan­ger­ous.”

Polk County An­i­mal Con­trol can be reached at 770-749-8908, but those in need can also visit at 1215 Veal St., Cedar­town from 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. on Mon­day and Tues­day, 10 a.m. through 5:30 on Wed­nes­day, 12 through 4:30 p.m. on Thurs­day, 10 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. on Fri­day, and 1 through 4 p.m. on Satur­day.

The sub­ject of the Oc­to­ber 24 hear­ing was brought into the home of a Chi­huahua, and upon ac­ci­den­tally be­ing re­leased to­gether, the Pit­bul­lLab broke the Chi­huahua’s legs and caused it to be eu­th­a­nized.

While some an­i­mal con­trol of­fi­cers felt the an­i­mal was dan­ger­ous, the Pit­bull-Lab’s re­lease was heav­ily prompted by when and where its ag­gres­sive­ness was trig­gered.

“He (the Pit­bull-Lab) has shown ag­gres­sion to­wards other dogs when he’s in­side the ken­nel,” Craw­ford said. “I took him out­side to­day and walked him by ev­ery dog that was in our ken­nel, and he did not show any ag­gres­sion to­wards them.”

The dog’s ac­tions demon­strated a lack of per­pet­ual ag­gres­sion, and he was re­port­edly friendly to any hu­mans he en­coun­tered, too.

“I be­lieve the dog is dan­ger­ous to other an­i­mals when cor­nered and un­able to es­cape, but to hu­mans, the dog has been fine,” Craw­ford said.

An­other fac­tor that led to the dog’s re­lease was the unique sce­nario re­gard­ing the in­jury. The Pit­bull-Lab, while nor­mally kept leashed, was in­vited into a neigh­bor’s home only be­cause of se­vere weather.

The dog is nor­mally kept from other an­i­mals, but it man­aged to es­cape be­fore at­tack­ing the Chi­huahua. When watched care­fully and kept com­fort­able, the com­mis­sion­ers likely felt the dog was of lit­tle risk.

For sim­i­lar dogs that show ag­gres­sion only when caged or when in con­tact with other an­i­mals, Craw­ford high­lighted pre­ven­ta­tive mea­sures to de­crease the chances of end­ing up in a dan­ger­ous dog hear­ing.

“Have your dog spayed or neutered,” Craw­ford ex­plained. “That will re­duce the ac­tiv­ity of want­ing to fight, not to say it will stop it 100 per­cent, but that will help con­trol their urge to want to fight. If they have any ques­tions, have them con­tact an­i­mal con­trol and we’ll help them the best that we can.”

Mak­ing sure there are enough peo­ple in the work­force to hire is go­ing to be an on­go­ing chal­lenge in Polk County com­pared to where un­em­ploy­ment was in past years.

The lat­est fig­ures pro­vided by the Depart­ment of La­bor for Septem­ber show a drop of six tenths of a per­cent from 4 per­cent for Au­gust’s ad­justed fig­ure, to just 3.4 per­cent for the month of Septem­ber.

Polk civil­ian la­bor force stood now at 18,044 em­ployed res­i­dents com­pared to the 18,688 avail­able to work, a dif­fer­ence of just 644 peo­ple who sought as­sis­tance in the past month.

Com­pared to where the rate was in Septem­ber 2017, it’s full 1.4 per­cent drop year over year. Just two years ago, the rate sat at 5.9 per­cent, and the year be­fore at 6.4 per­cent.

It’s get­ting to a point lo­cally where now the la­bor mar­ket is so small that ev­ery­one who wants to work can get find em­ploy­ment. The con­tin­ued trend of a de­crease in the rate will force em­ploy­ers to soon get cre­ative with what they of­fer peo­ple to sign on and stay on in their jobs.

The De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of Polk County’s Pres­i­dent and CEO Missy Ken­drick said that “un­em­ploy­ment num­bers are be­gin­ning to reach crit­i­cal lev­els for the state and espe­cially for our re­gion.”

“The De­vel­op­ment Au­thor­ity of Polk County and our sis­ter au­thor­i­ties are go­ing to have to un­der­take some ini­tia­tives to in­cen­tivize the at­trac­tion of the work­force of the fu­ture,” Ken­drick said.

She added that work is al­ready un­der­way to in­ves­ti­gate what those in­cen­tives could look like, and she hoped to pro­vide fur­ther in­for­ma­tion dur­ing the State of the Com­mu­nity event hap­pen­ing on Tues­day af­ter press time.

Polk County em­ploy­ers aren’t the only ones who are likely in the fu­ture to face in­creased dif­fi­culty in find­ing peo­ple to fill jobs.

The Rome Met­ro­pol­i­tan Sta­tis­ti­cal Area added 300 jobs in Septem­ber as com­pared to Septem­ber a year ago, State la­bor of­fi­cials said 41,400 jobs were at­tached to busi­nesses with pay­rolls based in the Rome mar­ket, up from 41,100 in Septem­ber of last year.

Re­gion­ally, the num­ber of ini­tial claims, a re­quest for as­sis­tance from some­one who has not re­ceived un­em­ploy­ment ben­e­fits in the pre­ced­ing 12 months, was down from Au­gust to Septem­ber, but up over Septem­ber of a year ago. The 15-county North­west Ge­or­gia re­port had 2,113 first time claims in Septem­ber, down 13.6 per­cent from the 2,445 that were filed in Au­gust but up 9.3 per­cent over the 1,934 first time claims filed in Septem­ber of 2017.

Gor­don County was the only county in the mid-Coosa Val­ley that ac­tu­ally saw an in­crease in first time claims from Au­gust to Septem­ber, jump­ing 8.7 per­cent to 163 claims. That was also up 19 per­cent over the ini­tial claims field in Septem­ber last year.

The Depart­ment of La­bor re­ported the statewide un­em­ploy­ment rate in Septem­ber was 3.7 per­cent in Septem­ber, the low­est since May of 2001. Coun­tyby-county un­em­ploy­ment rates for Septem­ber will be re­leased Oct. 25.

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