Whose Job Is It?

December 12, 2013 was when this deer was hit and killed. Twelve days later, the carcass remains. Gwinnett County has been called multiple times. The deer is on the right of way. This post has generated much discussion yet no action. Any ideas???

For the second year in a row the residents of Spalding Corners have the great misfortune of experiencing the slow and painful process of dead animal decomposition.  Each stage of this gruesome process is on display for all of those that care to look.  And then there is the smell.  Some say to just look away but getting everyone in the car to pinch their nose is just not possible.  This brings me to the million dollar question.  Whose job is it to clean this and other dead animal carcasses up?  Is it the City of Peachtree Corners or is it Gwinnett County?  Numerous residents of Spalding Corners have contacted Gwinnett County and asked that the carcass be removed but as of this posting the lesson continues.  Last year it took a dead fawn about two months to totally absorb into the ground around where it was dragged to die.  Today, very close to the same location, lies an adult male deer that is roughly 3 times the size of it's smaller predecessor.  Since the weather outside is nice and cold the residents of Spalding Corners and all those that traverse Spalding Drive on a daily basis are sure to have a very thorough lesson in dead animal decomposition thanks to the lack of attention and responsiveness from the governmental authority having jurisdiction over this issue.
Jeanne Aulbach December 21, 2013 at 04:46 PM
Jim, it is the county's job to have the deer picked up if it is not on private property. If it is in the street or the right of way, Animal Control should pick it up. You can call the Gwinnet County non-emergency number, 770 513-5000. They will contact Animal Control for pick up. If you have any other concerns, you can contact me at jaulbach@peachtreecornersga.org.
Steve Rausch December 21, 2013 at 06:52 PM
We had the problem in front of the woods next to our house last year, after several calls to Animal control we discovered the county only has one truck and one person to handle the dead deer for the entire county. When he came out I talked with him and found out the problem is somewhat seasonal but budget cutbacks certainly hurts prompt removal during most of the year.
Jim Blackburn December 22, 2013 at 12:05 AM
Jeanne Aulbach, thank you for the information and trust me, the call to Gwinnett County has been made multiple times with multiple failed commitments to get it removed. This is both in the case of the current deer and the deer last year that decomposed in place. What Steve Rausch says above is the same story that was told last year and seems reasonable but may not be the total reason why these dead animals are getting ignored. Let's put aside whose job it is for a minute and run through the a few hypothetical steps that go into killing an animal. First, the car hits the animal and it is either killed on the spot or the animal crawls to a place near the roadway and dies. It may decide to die on the right of way or it may decide to die one foot off of the right of way. If the animal dies on impact, maybe the motorist decides to drag the carcass from the roadway and onto the side of the road - maybe in the right of way and maybe not. So let's focus primarily on the dead animal that is NOT in the street or NOT on the right of way. What happens then? The simple answer I think is that the burden to dispose of the animal falls to the property owner along with the costs associated with the removal and disposal of the carcass. So the lesson here is that the motorist that hits the animal and drags it out of the roadway should leave it in the right of way? What is the definition of right of way? If the animal is dying and is taking it's final steps should it endure to collapse in the right of way? Sorry for the sarcasm but in a City Light I understand that services are limited BUT at the end of the day, with a financial surplus on the books, why can't the City Light take the initiative to step up here and get involved? If a code enforcement officer from Spalding Corners sees a dead animal in their daily rounds what do they do? Are animal carcasses trash and isn't the City now handling trash pickup? I suspect that the County may be seeing it this way, as trash, so could the delay or flat out refusal to pickup a dead animal carcass be because trash pickup now belongs to Peachtree Corners? Regardless of the answers to all my questions, the deer has been laying dead there since December 12 at 6:58pm. On December 17 at 9:15am a call was placed and the officer said the deer would be taken care of. Today is December 21 and it is 11:59pm and the decomposing deer is still there. Today is the 10th day the deer has been there and my bet is that it will be there 10 days from now. Any takers?
Chris Gruel December 22, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Everyone wants smaller government and less taxes till someone wants a dead deer removed from their neighborhood. ;-)
K Wade December 22, 2013 at 11:17 AM
Code enforcers making their rounds? Waste like that is where the problem begins.
Steve Rausch December 22, 2013 at 11:44 AM
K Wade, how would you suggest code enforcers get to the job sites to inspect? That's making rounds in my mind. They have places to inspect and follow up on so why can't they help resolve other issues too? I'm not sure I see trash service and dead deer connected, but no question the city could maybe apply some pressure to get more frequent service to our area.
Jim Blackburn December 22, 2013 at 11:52 AM
Correction: "code enforcement officer from Spalding Corners sees a dead animal in their daily rounds" should be Peachtree Corners. I still get them confused.
Allan Peel December 22, 2013 at 12:34 PM
I'm not a lawyer, but perhaps a complaint to the county that tied the presence of a declaying carcass to a health hazard would get them to respond more quickly as they could be held liable for any health issues and/or financial damages?
Allen December 22, 2013 at 05:06 PM
When did we become so reliant on government to solve every little problem we have? Sad, really.
Jim Blackburn December 22, 2013 at 06:24 PM
Allen I can't disagree with you on your point and I agree the whole situation is sad. With any government comes enforceable rules that bring with them citations and authority. We pay taxes for the County and now for the City Light, and good or bad, for or against, we as citizens have an expectation to receive some level of services or "value" for the money we spend. For the dead fawn last year I made two separate offers to dispose of the carcass by moving it and burying it on a piece of property I own in Norcross - I just needed someone to help me with a truck since my car was not ideal for carrying anything that was partially decomposed and of that size. I received multiple message flames from within the group I posted asking for help and was told that it was a County problem and moving the carcass and burying it anywhere in the City was "illegal". I called the County and asked and was told to leave it where it was and they would have a crew out to pick it up since they had guidelines on how the carcass had to be disposed of. Needles to say, they never showed up. I am all for burying it in place - just dig a hole, put it in, and cover it up but will the property owner mind or will the County mind? If it does happen to be on the right of way should I call the underground utility locate services first before I dig? ...pull a permit? It's hard to be a pro-active citizen when we are buried in a government quagmire. By the way, this years deer is still there.
David B. Manley December 22, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Just like your job apparently doesn't include dead deer removal, neither is it the job of code enforcement or garbage removal companies. Following the reasoning, why not ask the Gwinnett County Police to tie the carcass on the front of a patrol car and cart it off? There are probably health concerns requiring someone with the expertise and means to properly dispose of carcasses. Allen Peel makes a good point. Why not get together with neighbors affected by the carcass to let private enterprise take care of the problem? (There are those in the business of dead animal removal like http://deadanimalremoval.biz/.) If you believe dead deer removal should be a city service, perhaps you can ask for a referendum for the city to take over this service from the county or to hire the appropriate business to deal with it (but, of course, there will be many who object to using city money or increased to garbage fees to remove dead deer when most citizens don't have this problem). Ditto to the comment by Chris Gruel.
Jeanne Aulbach December 23, 2013 at 09:52 AM
Thank you all for a very informative and generally cordial discussion. Jim, I passed this information on to our staff at City Hall yesterday. Diana Wheeler, our Community Development Director had the following response this morning. "I called and sent an e-mail [to the county] this morning about the deer in Spalding Corners. I’m hoping that since I did so in my official capacity, we’ll get a faster response from the County. I will also update the City’s website to add the animal rescue information to our “Who do I call?” tab on the homepage. In the future, if someone sees a dead animal in the roadway and they don’t want to contact the county, they should send me an e-mail [dwheeler@peachtreecornersga.org]. I will contact the County and be persistent about the follow-up. " Here is the related county code: "Sec. 10-41. Dead animals. (a) Officers of the animal control unit are authorized to remove dead animals from public property including public schools, parks and roadways. Carcasses on private property must be disposed of by the animal or property owner or possessor in accordance with state laws and regulations. …" If the deer is not in the right of way, perhaps the Spalding Corners HOA or the property owners adjoining could pull resources together and use the service David found to remove the carcass. Hopefully, we will have a good resolution to this issue.
Jim Blackburn December 23, 2013 at 10:09 AM
Jeanne Aulbach, thank you for the information. I am sure that the steps outlined in your post will go along way to helping with the confusion surrounding this issue. For clarification can you please provide the best way a homeowner can determine where the right of way is for this and other locations around the county? For off right of way situations I am all for pooling resources and getting the problem taken care of. As far as you know, are there any laws or restrictions in place that would prevent a homeowner or group from burying a dead animal carcass on private property?
Jeanne Aulbach December 23, 2013 at 10:45 AM
Jim, I got this from the county website. "The right-of-way is defined as the space between utility poles and the curb of the road. Illegal signs are defined as any sign that is mounted on any utility pole or any temporary sign within 10 feet of the curb or edge of pavement in the right-of-way". As to the ability to bury the deer, I suspect not given that the code refers to "state laws and regulations". Hopefully the deer is not on private property and the county will respond to Ms. Wheeler.
Robert J. Nebel December 23, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Couldn't someone with a pickup just take carcasses to a local processor? Check out Neese Processing. They will keep accepting deer through early Feb 2014. http://neesedeerprocessing.com/
Jim Blackburn December 23, 2013 at 03:03 PM
This deer appears to be right at the 10' mark so I suspect that it might not qualify for pickup by the county but I could be wrong - and hope I am. As for the Neese Processing suggestion, road kill/trauma kill deer are no good for processing unless they are field dressed immediately. Note that Neese will not field dress deer onsite according to their website. Note, deer is still there...
Jeanne Aulbach December 23, 2013 at 05:29 PM
Jim, I drove by Spalding Corners on my way home tonight. The deer is in the right of way. I am sending pictures to a contact at the county and will follow up with Ms. Wheeler on Thursday to see if we can't finally have the carcass removed.
Steve Rausch December 23, 2013 at 05:53 PM
Just saw another one on Peachtree Corners Circle down by the World of Tennis. They're dropping like flys!
Anna McLaughlin December 23, 2013 at 08:07 PM
The one on Peachtree Corners has been there at least a week. We have been having this same conversation in our house. I live on Peachtree Corners and want to provide support to having the community resolve its issues - conversely I don't want go purchase a service twice to receive the service once.
Jim Blackburn December 24, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Update: The deer carcass at the entrance to Spalding Corners neighborhood has been removed. Thanks to everyone for the dialog and information. Merry Christmas.


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