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March 1--  The Lyons city council is shifting control of its dog pound from the Public Works Department to the Police Department.

The move is part of a plan the council is considering to clean up its act after the mass killing of 77 dogs at the pound January 20.

Councilman Willis NeeSmith gave the council a progress report on actions being recommended by an animal shelter committee appointed in February.

"I feel very good about it.  With the four meetings, it's taken a good bit of time but it's all hashing out and it's going to work out real well.  We look forward to putting the shelter under the police department and I'll know they'll do a good job with that," he said.

Therisa Ingley has represented the Sweet Onion Animal Protection Society on the city committee and feels things are going in the right direction.

"I do think we're making progress.  A lot of our concerns have been addressed and we have a lot of things that still need to be worked out, but time will take care of that.  The city is giving us an opportunity to form a partnership and that's what we really want for the welfare of the dogs," she said.

In an unrelated animal treatment issue, the city council okayed a demonstration permit for Kara Blackburn who's protesting refusal by Toombs County Magistrate Chip Matheson to hear a case of alleged animal cruelty.

She says a pit bull was kept in an excrement covered pen with no clean water in rural Toombs County near Five Points for six years.  The case has been dubbed the "Dog in the Box" and has gone viral on the Internet and even led to calls of boycotting Vidalia Onions.  The dog has since been placed in a new pen with shelter and clean water, but Blackburn says the case should be prosecuted.

"Hopefully it (the demonstration) will make Judge Matheson and the other officials aware there are a lot of people who are worried about this and at least bring the case to court where evidence from both sides can be presented," Blackburn said.

The animal rights demonstration will be held March 16th from four till five-thirty in front of the Toombs County courthouse in Lyons.