By Chad Fell
Courtesy of the Northwest Alabamian
BEAR CREEK — The Town of Bear Creek is sinking its teeth deeper into an animal control ordinance after a series of threatening situations, as well as planning stiff fines for drivers town officials claim are tearing up city streets.
The town’s animal control ordinance has now been amended, according to Mayor Rob Taylor and Police Chief Eddie Collins, who addressed the council about the issue at the council’s December meeting. The newly amended ordinance reads that the number of dogs running at-large in town is a menace to the safety and well-being of residents, so dogs being allowed to run freely off their owners’ properties is strictly prohibited.
The ordinance also reads that anyone having a complaint about a dog is urged to come to Bear Creek Town Hall and file a written complaint, resulting in the town notifying the dog’s owner to give them the opportunity to correct the situation.
On the second complaint, the animal in question will be picked up and impounded, the ordinance continues. Following seven days of impoundage, the dog shall, if not soon-er redeemed by its owner, be humanely euthanized, with charges for such services as catching and impounding of the dog to be paid by the owner, according to the ordinance. The ordinance did not state what any particular charge would be.
“I think this ordinance has a little more meat to it, as far as what it costs the owner,” Collins added. “I think once they read the ordinance, they will do what they need to do to take care of their animals. If they don’t, then we’ll have to take further action.”
Taylor stressed that he had received complaints about ongoing dog issues in the town.
“They are getting vicious, and it’s a matter of time before someone’s animal gets attacked,” Taylor said. “If we can get ahead of it now, then we can prevent it from happening.”
Council member Alex Price made a motion approving the ordinance, with Tom Misner seconding and all council members voting in favor, including Price, Misner, Chris Gillum and Eric Loden. Council member Eric Mills was absent.
The ordinance strictly points out it is unlawful for the owner or person having charge or control over a dog to knowingly or negligently permit the animal to run at-large in the Town of Bear Creek.
If the animal escapes confinement from the owner’s property, the owner of such animal shall immediately recapture and reconfine or tie up the animal, with all restraints being humane, the ordinance continues.
The town will use reasonable efforts to contact the owner if, and only if, the dog has identification at the time of capture, the ordinance continued.
All dogs and cats in the town limits are required to be vaccinated against rabies as required by Alabama Code 3-7A-1 through 3-7A-15, along with being required to wear collars that include the name of the owner and the owner’s contact number. The animal also must wear a vaccination tag, according to the ordinance.
Taylor is also authorized to enter into contract with any person he deems qualified to handle the control of the dogs and cats in the Town of Bear Creek, as well as contract with any person capable of providing boarding and services required for the humane euthanization methods of said dog or cat, the ordinance stated.
Anyone violating terms of the ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be fined no less than $75 or no more than $250 for each incident, according to the ordinance.
See complete story in the Journal Record.