VIDEO: County officials discuss implementing ‘Dangerous Dogs’ law
April 10, 2018
Southern Torch (3535 articles)

VIDEO: County officials discuss implementing ‘Dangerous Dogs’ law

PHOTO: Tax Enforcement and Animal Cruelty investigator Clayburn Simpson discusses the new law’s implications at this morning’s meeting of the DeKalb County Commission. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

FORT PAYNE, Ala. — (Scroll down for video) At this morning’s meeting of the DeKalb County Commission, DeKalb officials discussed implementing recently signed into law Senate Bill 232 (Click here to read Senate Bill 232), or “Emily’s Law.” The law seeks to allow for some dogs to be declared “dangerous,” and expanded penalties for owner’s of these dogs when they kill or maim another human.

The law is named after Emily Colvin, who was killed on December 7th, 2017 during an attack by five dogs owned by her neighbors. The owners of the dogs were recently arrested after a grand jury returned an indictment for negligent homicide and other charges.

“I felt like, and we agreed, that we needed to send some of our personnel to training to familiarize themselves with the implications of this law provides; what we can do, what we can’t do. There always needs to be some kind of training that needs to be initiated with anything that’s newly enacted,” said DeKalb County Commission President Ricky Harcrow, to start the discussion.

County Administrator Matt Sharp then explained that Leslie Ledbetter, Director of the DeKalb County Animal Shelter sent a request that personnel be trained on the new law.

“This law that was introduced by Senator (Steve) Livingston and Senator (Clay) Schofield from our area. The incident that happened just across the line in Jackson County where a female was killed by 5 dogs. And it is a dangerous situation. It does put some liability on the county, so some training is needed,” said Sharp.

Sharp then called Clayburn Simpson to the podium, who is an investigator for the County Commission regarding Animal Cruelty, to discuss the implementation of the new law in the meeting.

“We get animal cruelty calls quite a bit. As far as animal cruelty goes, very few of them turn out to be actually a crime. A lot of them turn out to be neighbors mad at other neighbors, family mad at family; things of that nature. We do occasionally have an animal cruelty case where an animal has been neglected. That’s what most of them are; instead of being abused they are being neglected. People who don’t know what they got or how to take care of them,” Simpson explained.

Sharp then asked, “Do you get complaints about a dangerous type dog?”

“We get quite a bit of complaints about dogs; dogs roaming yards, dangerous dogs. DeKalb County has no leash law, which most counties don’t. It’s a touchy subject with the general public. Some are for, some are against. We go out and talk to people, try and to get them to keep their dog up and confine it. There is not a lot we can do if they don’t. Alabama has a law, that if a dog goes on someone else’s property and bothers them or their livestock, they can actually shoot it,” said Simpson.

“We’ve looked at the statute, it’s mostly going to be law enforcement; as in the Sheriff’s Office and city police. I don’t know what extent we would be involved as far as declaring the dog dangerous. I think the way the law is written, it’s going to be mostly law enforcement. Or the sheriff’s office,” Simpson said.

During the meeting, DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Edmondson said the sheriff’s office intends to send someone to the training.

Harcrow asked in the motion to send anyone necessary to the training. District III Commissioner Chris Kuykendall said in his second of the motion, “It’s necessary to protect the county’s interest for the training to be conducted, and I second the motion.”

Watch the Video:

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