Dog problem discussed by Demopolis council

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 3, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-Unconfined dogs have been the source of much concern in the city of Demopolis lately. In some cases dogs have been reported to roam the streets leash less which creates a potential hazard for citizens.

Demopolis City Councilman Jack Cooley said he witnessed roaming dogs in his neighborhood recently and had gotten calls from other citizens who would like to see the situation resolved. Cooley said most calls were requests for stronger laws against roaming animals.

“About four or five weeks ago on a weekday I was washing my truck and I heard a commotion created by three neighborhood dogs,” Cooley said. “As I turned around the dogs were chasing a truck going down the street in front of my house. I have had two residents of Indian Hills Road contact me this week requesting we do something with the dog ordinance.”

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In an effort to present possible solutions Cooley said he contacted the City of Tuscaloosa to see how they dealt with the problem. Cooley said the city employed an animal control officer who had a system in place to deal with stray or roaming animals.

“I have taken it upon myself to make contact with the City of Tuscaloosa and I am trying to put together how their ordinance works,” Cooley said. “I do know the city employs a dog catcher and once he catches the dogs he has two avenues. He can go to the Tuscaloosa Humane Society and give the animal to them and they will find a home for them or he will call another person who the city of Tuscaloosa’s contract is with and they will euthenize them on a fee basis.”

Unfortunately, it is not that simple for Demopolis. Mayor Cecil P. Williamson said an animal control officer in the City of Demopolis must be a trained police officer capable of performing their duties in the manner an officer would handle them.

“Our dilemma is that an animal control officer has to be a police officer,” Williamson said. “They have to have the power to arrest.”

Williamson said their first priority would be to employ officers to protect their citizens, however, she understood the need to resolve this situation.

“We are having a hard enough time finding police officers, much less finding an animal control officer,” Williamson said. “I am all for taking a proactive stance on reworking and rewriting the animal ordinance, but we have to consider how we are going to do it.”