Sandy Springs: A Pet Owners’ Paradise

If anything symbolized the intense love and respect that Sandy Springs has for dogs, it was the dozens upon dozens of police cars lined up from Sandy Springs Circle to Abernathy and Roswell Roads late last year to pay their respects to K-9 Igor, an 11-year-old Belgian Malinois that had died unexpectedly from illness. The dog had served the Sandy Springs Police Department for 10 years. 

Sandy Springs K-9 officer Igor

According to the Department, Igor had been responsible for firearm and tracking finds, millions of dollars of narcotics seizures, several high-profile arrests and apprehensions as well as many dignitary protection details.

“The cars and officers were there to pay respect to Igor for the years of service he gave to Sandy Springs as a member of this department,” said Sandy Springs Police Department Sergeant and Public Information Officer Matthew McGinnis.

Canine Health Care

Igor had been treated at Sandy Springs Veterinary Hospital on Sandy Springs Circle, according to McGinnis, which is one of a number of animal hospitals, pet emergency specialists and veterinarian clinics in the city. The various health facilities for dogs and cats offer a variety of care including surgery, acupuncture, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, as well as grooming, vaccinations, dental care, regular checkups and even boarding.

It probably doesn’t hurt that the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine within the University of Georgia in Athens is a top 10 ranked veterinary school.

Dogs in the community

The City of Sandy Springs could be considered a pet owners’ paradise. Most of its parks allow dogs, as long as they are leashed and owners clean up after their pets. Since 2010, the city has offered its off-leash dog park at Morgan Falls, off Morgan Falls Road. The 3.421-acre park contains two fenced-in areas, one for big dogs and one for small dogs to play and run free.

But, as part of Fulton County, there are some rules that pet owners must follow. The Fulton County animal ordinance requires all pet owners to license their dogs and cats over the age of four months. Pet owners who do not comply may receive a citation from the county.

When dogs are outside, they must either be restrained by a fence, wall or other enclosure, or on leashes that are no longer than six feet. It is against the law for dog owners to leave feces left by their pets on sidewalks, gutters, streets, lots, public parks or other public areas and properties. The only exclusion to this rule applies to visually impaired individuals with a guide dog.

Encouraging pet ownership, Fulton County Animal Services offers adoption opportunities. Especially since the pandemic started in 2020, when families operated virtually for work and education from home, an increasing number of residents have adopted pets that have become part of their families.

It is obvious that the love of dogs runs deep in the Sandy Springs Police Department. In its Facebook post, announcing the death of K-9 Igor, “A Working Dog’s Oath” was written.

“I will lay down my life for you and expect nothing but love in return.
I protect my officer with my life and would gladly take a bullet in his place.
I am sent in to find lost children and fugitives on the run.
I find drugs and weapons and even bombs.
I am the first sent in and sometimes the last to leave.
I am the nose and ears of my officer.
I will protect and serve him.
I would die for him and for you.
I only ask for compassion and a kind word.”

Igor was certainly part of the Sandy Springs Police Department family.