Employees were wiping away tears at Macon-Bibb Animal Welfare after saying goodbye to a dog who'd been a guest for almost 4 years.

Betty likes to play ball, but she likes belly rubs more. Macon-Bibb's Animal Welfare director Tracey Belew calls her family. 

Betty was brought in to the shelter 3-and-a-half years ago as evidence for a dog fighting case, but the case still hasn't gone to court.

Belew shared this video of employees saying goodbye to Betty.

"For that day to come, oh, my goodness, we were just all in tears,"said Belew.

Back in 2016, Georgia passed legislation for what's called an animal cost of care petition -- if people can’t pay for their animals to be kept in a shelter while they're held up in court, then they can be released.

Belew says they're working close with Michael McNeill with the county attorney’s office and so far, they've been able to release 10 dogs in 6 months.

“We average about 30 or 40 legal holds and they have to stay on the stray side. Well, that takes up 30 to 40 cages, so where do you put your strays? Do you cut back on your space for adoptions so you have less animals to adopt?  It really puts a strain on the shelter,” said Belew.

Betty's brother Tommy was also released by the same petition, but he is still at the shelter waiting for a home.

Belew says it's her mission to fight to get each dog a backyard of their own and a family to spoil them rotten.