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.)