Albertville, AL 5/7/09 City passes law on dangerous animals

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Albertville, AL 5/7/09 City passes law on dangerous animals

Published May 7, 2009

“People should be able to walk their neighborhood without fear,” Albertville police Chief Benny Womack.

Womack presented a proposal for an ordinance to control dangerous animals to the City Council at Monday night’s meeting.

Although the city already has an animal control ordinance on the books, Womack said this one is more specific.

“We have received a sizable amount of calls during the past year regarding aggressive dogs threatening citizens,” he said. “It has caused a number to be afraid to leave their homes or walk their streets.

“In an effort to make our neighborhoods safer and for citizens to not be afraid of animals, I looked at a Gadsden city ordinance regarding all dangerous animals and came up with the ordinance I presented to the city council.”

The ordinance defines what constitutes a “dangerous” animal.

“The ordinance was produced with the breed known as a pit bull in mind,” Womack said. “It and similar breeds that present a more aggressive behavior towards people, their owners and other animals, because they are raised to be fight dogs, are what I had in mind.”

The ordinance approved unanimously by the council Monday covers “any mammal, amphibian, reptile or fowl which is of a species which, due to size, vicious nature or other characteristics would constitute a danger to human life, physical well-being, or property…”

Womack said the law covers the manner in which animals are to be kept, the construction of pens and the requirement that they meet all zoning and building codes.

The law governs the display of proper warning signs, which will be provided by the police department.

All owners of animals included in the ordinance must register and obtain a permit for the animals, provide two color photographs and provide proof of a minimum of $100,000 in liability insurance.

A yearly application fee of $25, or $50 for a dog that hasn’t been spayed or neutered, must be paid to cover the cost of processing the application and making the signs.

The locations where the animal is kept will be subject to periodic inspection by the animal control officer.

Womack said the ordinance provides for an exception when someone illegally trespasses on property and teases or attempts to abuse or torment an animal.

“The key thing to remember with this ordinance is it applies to animals that have been declared aggressive or dangerous,” Womack said.

Permits will be valid until Dec. 31 each year. The owner must seek an application for renewal of the permit no less than 45 days before the permit expires.

If the application is submitted later than the deadline, a late fee of $5 per day shall be added.

The law takes effect June 15.
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