VIDEO: Rainsville Council hires part-time animal control officer in response to ‘dog problem’
June 6, 2017
Southern Torch (3854 articles)

VIDEO: Rainsville Council hires part-time animal control officer in response to ‘dog problem’

PHOTO: Citizen Richard Pope addresses the council on the “dog problem” in Rainsville. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Tyler Pruett, Managing Editor

RAINSVILLE, Ala. — (Full Video of the Workshop and Meeting Below) In last night’s meeting of the Rainsville City Council, Gary Haymon led the prayer to begin the workshop. The council would first hear from CDG and Ladd Engineering regarding the ongoing bridge projects.

Chuck Chitwood of CDG Engineering updated the council on their progress on the Chavies Bridge project. Chitwood related that submitting the construction plans in March met the deadline and locked in the city’s funds for the project. At an earlier meeting, Chitwood reported that the project was held up while waiting on comments from ALDOT, but as of this recent meeting, CDG had received comments (critique) on the design from the Construction Bureau at the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), and that they were ready to resubmitted the design.

Chitwood also reported the Bridge Bureau at ALDOT had also gotten back with CDG on the bridge project, and Chitwood said that, “we’re working on those comments and should have those ready to go back to ALDOT in the next 2 – 3 weeks.”

“Once we get that, then really we’re waiting on right-of-way acquisition, Mrs. Nikki (Scott) is working on it. Once we get all the right-of-way acquired, then we’ll resubmitted to ALDOT, and they’ll do the final review process, and… ALDOT will actually set our bid date at that point,” said Chitwood.

A representative with LADD Engineering also updated on the project to replace the bridge on Boozer Road. He reported they had met with the county engineer, Ben Luther, determining that the actual bridge construction would be handled through ALDOT, and the road work would go through the county. He also related that they were waiting on the permits and environmental documents, as the bridge crosses a body of water.

LADD also stated that ALDOT, “didn’t want to review the Boozer Road project until they actually bid out the Chavies Bridge project. They view Rainsville’s funding as a whole instead of two separate projects.”

Jerry Clifton addresses the council on the 9th Annual Freedom Fest Run. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

Jerry Clifton then addressed the council on the 9th Annual Freedom Fest. Clifton said that they are right at approximately 700 confirmed runners for the event, which included a Olympic qualifying runner, several “elite” runners, and runners from many different states, some as far as California. He thanked the city for the support to make the event a success.

Sabra Gann, who was crippled by a dog attack last year in the city limits, addressed the council next. Gann said she suffered many injuries and seven broken bones after a loose dog ran in front of her while riding a bicycle.

“I had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital, I had to have surgery, I now have three metal pins in my left arm, I have a metal rod that goes all the way across my back, I was in rehab for eight weeks, and a wheelchair for seven weeks,” said Gann.

“I’ll never be able to lead a normal life again, and do the things that I love, which is exercise and ride my bicycle. All because of a dog, being allowed to run loose in the city limits of Rainsville,” added Gann.

“Now recently another person has been injured severely due to a dog attack. Brother Haymon was attacked, and severely injured within the city limits of Rainsville. And my question is, is someone going to have to die before Rainsville enforces the dog ordinance?” stated Gann.

“And what about restitution being made to those of us who have suffered injury at the hands of a dog. Up to this point, my medical expenses are almost a quarter of a million dollars. Of this amount I owe almost $25,000, and this amount is increasing almost every week,” she said. “I will have continuing medical expenses throughout my life.”

“I’m asking you to act now before it’s too late, and someone dies, in the limits of our city,” concluded Gann.

Citizen Richard Pope also addressed the council on the dog problem. Pope discussed his problems with his neighbor’s dogs spanning throughout six years. He expressed his frustrations with the lack of legal recourse against people who are irresponsible with their dogs. He explained that he had sought help from the police throughout the years, and had filled out several police reports. Pope also told of his elderly mother’s recent run-in with menacing dogs.

“People want to say it’s a pitbull, I don’t own a dog by the way, but I love dogs. Mrs. Carroll was attacked by a bull mastiff. Sabra Gann, it was a small dog that got her. Brother Haymon, it was a pitbull dog that got him. Over at my mom’s, it’s a lab and a poodle. I congratulate ya’ll on passing the vicious dog [act]. That it’s not just a certain type of dog. That would be like saying only a certain type of dog is vicious. We don’t have a dog problem in Rainsville. We don’t have a dog owner problem in Rainsville. The problem lies with the city council, the mayor, and the police,” said Pope.

“It’s got a lot of good stuff to it,” said Pope of the current dog ordinance passed. “But gentlemen, it’s just like this: if a person runs a red light up here, and there is no ticket given to them. Death is going to ensue.”

Pope also related an incident to the council in which one of his neighbors had to fire shots at the aforementioned neighbor’s dog to prevent the dog from attacking him. The two men argued in the streets, in which the two men threatened to kill the others’ dog.

“Somebody’s gonna die, but it may not be at the hands of the dog,” said Pope.

The mayor responded by pointing out that the county animal control can’t cover the whole county, “and we are actually hiring someone tonight, to patrol our streets, start catching dogs, and start to move forward.”

Pope would then ask the mayor questions, including, “if there is a dog loose, what’s the correction action? Because some people don’t know whether it’s the [DeKalb] Animal Control or the Rainsville Police. Which one?”

“It’ll be through the Rainsville Police,” responded the Mayor.

“So after tonight start calling the police?” then asked Pope.

“And what it is… you’ll need to fill out a report, because we need a paper trail on this stuff, it don’t need to be just call and check on it. ” responded the Mayor.

“With this animal control person, we should start moving forward a lot quicker and getting out there,” said the mayor.

Rainsville Police Chief Kevin Smith also responded to Mr. Pope:

“Just so you know, we have been enforcing that. Since this new ordinance has been passed, we’ve already written citations and summoned people to court. I’ve worked closely with the city council and the mayor. Like he was saying, it takes us time,” said Smith.

Smith also explained that it took time to get the necessary equipment, such the “catch poles,” which had arrived that day.

“We’re working on it, it’s just going to take time,” explained Smith.

In the regular meeting, the council would hire Luke Yarborough as the part-time animal control officer, which the Mayor mentioned in the workshop would be working approximately 19 hours per week, largely on the weekends.

Other items addressed at the meeting:

  • Held a meeting to discuss giving the alley ways owned by the city to the appropriate property owners. Several citizens were present to voice their concerns or support. The council decided to host another public meeting on July 3 to discuss the issue.
  • Approved the reappointment of Johnathon Andrews and Gary Blevins to the Educational Building Authority.
  • Set the per diem travel for Conference Expenditures for $45.00 per day.
  • Accepted Jamey Chatman’s resignation from the police department.
  • Hire Josh Hunter as a new patrolman to replace Chatman.
  • Hired Steve Davis as a part time sanitation driver/grounds keeper.
  • Hired Michael Peterson as a part time sanitation driver.
  • Purchased a concrete/asphalt saw for approximately $2300.00.
  • Accepted Gala Street and Browning Avenue as new city roads.
  • Accepted Country Lane as a new city road.
  • Hired Chris Phillips as an assistant pool manager.
  • Approved a renegotiated contract with the “Square Dancers,” which utilize the Tom Bevill center on Thursday nights.
  • Promoted Patrolman Nick Knopps to Sergeant.
  • Promoted Patrolman Stephen Malone to Night Sergeant
  • Changed the rank structure at the police department to place a detective over the rank of sergeant.
  • Approved Officer Tim Devlin as the new School Resource Office.
  • Approved the purchase of three new Tahoes for the Police Department off the state bid, no amount was given.
  • Empowered the mayor to sign a loan to do, “close to $480,000.00” worth of paving in the city. Byrum made the motion and stated that the city would be receiving “$240,000 – $250,000” back by means of a grant. The Mayor stated that the grant will be paid to the city from the state after the city pays for the entire project. ( This discussion can be found at 56:40 – 58:10 in the regular council meeting video)

Watch the Full Video of the Workshop:

Watch the Full Video of the Meeting: 

Southern Torch

Southern Torch


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