Police Officer Fired after Standing Up to City Officials and Refusing to Shoot Loose Dogs

Walker Co, AL used to have a pound but the place closed a few years ago after it was exposed as a dog killing hole.  Since then, the city of Carbon Hill in Walker Co has apparently been trying to avoid the issue of homeless pets on the streets.  That brilliant plan did not work out for some reason and this month the city attempted to address the issue:

Carbon Hill City Councilor Billy Jenkins says the dog problem there is out of control, and people are complaining.

He thinks it’s time the city revisited an ordinance that was passed in 1991 but never enforced.

[…]

The ordinance references the responsibilities of a dogcatcher, but Carbon Hill Police say the city doesn’t have a dogcatcher and officers feel they’re being pressured to shoot strays because of Section 8 of the ordinance.

“It says the police department shall have the authority to destroy any stray domestic animal running at large within the city limits of the city. When in the opinion of the (Carbon Hill Police Department) such animal constitutes a public nuisance or is a danger or a menace to the life or health of the citizens of the city,” said Jenkins.

While Jenkins specifies that the city is not asking officers to shoot dogs on the streets, the police chief says his department has no resources to catch and transport dogs, even if a new Walker Co shelter opens as planned next year.  He says lethal force against a dog is only a last resort:

“We just don’t go around firing our weapons off in town. You know I mean if our weapons are ever then it’s a threat to us or to someone else, you know someone’s life. We’re just not going to go out and shoot a dog for no reason just because it’s a stray,” said Chief Jason Richardson, Carbon Hill Police Department.

“Things have changed since 91 this is 2014 fixing to be 2015. There’s a lot of things changed. You just don’t go around, you don’t go around killing dogs,” said Richardson. “In my eyes that’s animal cruelty.”

Well say, that’s refreshing.  And it looks like the chief isn’t the only one with that attitude:

Carbon Hill’s mayor says alleged statements from city leaders that stray dogs should be shot to eliminate the problem are not true.

However, the city’s acting assistant police chief tells Alabama’s 13 city leaders did make such statements[.]

[…]

[A]cting assistant police chief Johnathan Yerby says he notified city leaders last week that state law prevents officers from shooting stray dogs. A week later, he’s out of a job for what the city says is budget cuts, but Yerby says the timing is no coincidence.

“I was the one chosen to be laid off because I’m the one that stood up and printed out the state law and told them that we couldn’t shoot dogs,” Yerby explains.

The police chief is reportedly very upset at Yerby’s firing and the mayor has no comment.  The mayor did however offer this greatly comforting reassurance:

“There ain’t going to be no dogs shot,” Mayor Chambers stresses. “We’ll catch them and try to give them away, adopt them out, or do whatever we got to to please everybody.”

Sounds like a well thought out plan of action there.  I can’t imagine how it’s not going to succeed, especially when the police officers charged with the catching and the giving away or the doing whatever say they lack the resources for the job and now they’re down an officer.  Stay tuned for success, I guess.

(Thanks Clarice for the story.)

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5 Comments

  1. Good for the officer for standing up for the dogs. As for the rest of them, that mayor certainly has an overload of STUPID! Fire the good guy (budget? bah) and commence the killing. The guy doesn’t even sound literate . . . God help the animals in that place and I pray that the animal lovers will come forward and insist on a better “plan”. Mr Mayor, you are giving the south a very bad name.

    Reply
  2. mikken

     /  December 30, 2014

    “There ain’t going to be no dogs shot,” Mayor Chambers stresses. “We’ll catch them and try to give them away, adopt them out, or do whatever we got to to please everybody.”

    Wow, color me impressed with this guy. He’s totally willing to NOT shoot my dog, try to catch it and give it away to a stranger to PLEASE me and everyone else. Sounds like he totally has a great grasp on the situation and the law. I wonder where he’s planning on keeping my dog before he gives it away? Maybe he’ll just give away dogs off the back of the truck he’s using to catch them? Saves time if you can just give them away within minutes of catching them.

    This doesn’t sound like a system that will attract flippers and fighters at all! Sounds great!

    Kudos to the cop for standing up – it’s a shame he lost his job, though. It’d be nice if he decided to run for Mayor, next…

    Reply
  3. Dona

     /  December 30, 2014

    GET EVOLVED ALAMABA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! STOP behaving like a Third World country!!!!!!

    Reply
  4. This is stupid and ridiculous! They don’t know what they’re doing….damn idiots! If there were a way, I’d fire these incompetent jerks!

    Reply
  5. WannaRescue23

     /  January 3, 2015

    The controversy in Carbon Hill has made a lot of people who were unaware of the problem in that small city take notice, which can be both a bad and good thing. To somewhat explain to everyone where Carbon Hill is, it’s in a tiny ( and very poor) rural Alabama county called Walker County. As of right now, Walker County does NOT have a shelter. It does have 2 rescue groups that are non-profits and currently being completely over-ran with the amount of dogs that come through. Walker County as a whole has a terrible problem with a lack of spay/neuter and people ‘dumping’ dogs, instead of doing right by them.

    That said – There are people who would love to help. Myself included. I am not local to the area. I live about an hours drive away. I’ve spoken with locals, and it is as bad as they say – 6-10 dogs in one general area, as well as possibly a dozen more just running through the neighborhoods. It’s hard to tell which ones are actual “strays” and which ones are simply pets that are allowed to roam free, because unfortunately in that area, that is also a huge problem for both collared and uncollared dogs.

    After driving up there, I found a few strays that I feel could be rehabilitated and rehomed. Unfortunately, at 23 years of age and with no resources or other people willing to help foster and such, there’s not a lot that I can do now. But be assured, there ARE people in Alabama that want to help, that want to be part of the solution. We are so very behind when it comes to animal cruelty laws and animal welfare, and it’s terribly sad. The people who already have rescues established are completely over-ran with unwanted, neglected, abused, and forgotten animals. Those of us who would help, but don’t have an established rescue, are overwhelmed by the steep cost of vetting and lack a community group to step up and assist…So, just so everyone knows..there ARE people who care. Sometimes we just aren’t sure how to help.

    Reply

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