By Emily Reed - Thursday, December 17, 2015
Commissioners made plans to work on a solution to a recurring problem of county animal control. The discussion came up on Monday morning during the regularly scheduled commission when county resident Doris Guin approached the commission meeting about the issue.
Guin, who lives off County Road 770 in the Oak Grove Community, previously addressed commissioners in 2014 with a detailed and often chilling account of how she struggled to fend off a pack of dogs near her home. Guin’s main objective for approaching the commission in 2014 was to ask if the commission would consider adopting a portion of the code of Alabama 1975 pertaining to dogs running at large.
Through a series of events throughout the course of a year, Guin’s dog was attacked by a pack of dogs owned by a neighbor, but later survived. However, the 70-pound-lab owned by Guin’s family, was later mauled and killed by the pack of dogs.
Guin told commissioners in 2014 it could have easily been a child who was attacked. She said a separate incident occurred on Nov. 25 when Guin’s neighbor Allen Foster was attacked by the same three dogs.
“You went against the will of the people on this matter with a promise to pursue legislative action that would be better,” Guin said. “I am here a year later after not being able to go in my yard or go to my mailbox and ask you where does this stand?”
Commission Chairman Allen Caton told Guin that commissioners were unable to have any sort of resolution drafted in 2014 due to the short of amount of time during the 2014 Alabama Legislative Session.
Rep. Jimmy Martin was at the meeting on Monday and told commissioners he did not think it would be a problem to try and have something introduced during the 2015 Legislative Session.
“It is a long process, but we are wanting to stay on top of this,” Caton told Guin.
Chilton County Sheriff John Shearon spoke during the meeting and assured Guin that two of the dogs that attacked Foster on Nov. 25 had been killed. Shearon said he was not sure about the third dog, but did know the dog had been taken away from the residence and was going to be euthanized.
Alabama’s current “leash law” code states:
“Every person owning or having in charge any dog or dogs shall at all times confine such dog or dogs to the limits of his own premises or the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner of any dog or dogs or other person or persons having such a dog or dogs in his or their charge from allowing such dog or dogs to accompany such owner or other person or persons elsewhere than on the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $2 nor more than $50. This section shall not apply to the running at large of any dog or dogs within the corporate limits of any city or town in this state that requires a license tag to be kept on dogs nor shall this section apply in any county in this state until the same has been adopted by the county commission of such county.”
Caton said the problem with adopting the state “leash law” is that it would not prevent against many of the problems residents in Chilton County face. In January 2014, commissioners voted against adopting the proposed “leash law.”
A public hearing was held Jan. 12, 2014, when more than 40 people attended the hearing to address the commission on whether they were “for” or “against” the leash law.
Commissioners decided after the public hearing that they would like to work on coming up with adopting something that would address the problems residents in Chilton County face.
Guin said on Monday she hoped the commission would actively work to come up with a solution.
“I drive to my mailbox now,” Guin said. “The man who was attacked was in his 50s and he could fight the dogs off, but they would have killed me.”
Commissioners voted to schedule a work session to meet with Martin to discuss options for county animal control on Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Chilton County Courthouse.
For more from Monday’s meeting, check a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser or visit www.clantonadvertiser.com.