The City Council of Clay Alabama voted June 3rd to ban dogs they deem to be pit bulls after an incident involving 4 dogs officials claim were pit bull dogs. The Sheriff was approached while on his porch by the loose dogs. He felt threatened and shot at them, grazing one of the dogs. This incident happened on Tuesday the 27th of May.
Officials passed a ban on pit bulls seven days later.
Sheriff Hale is now saying he believes the dogs that approached him were not pit bulls but Rottweilers.
The ordinance was modeled after Center Points ordinance. The ban does have a grandfather clause. Those people who currently have a dog that would fall under the ordinance have 60 days to register their dog in order to be able to keep it. Owners of grandfathered dogs must post a sign, keep the dogs inside and carry $50,000 of liability insurance.
Violators of the new law face a fine of $500 and up to 30 days in jail.
It is not known at this time whether any public input was accepted. It is unlikely that this is the case because the prompting incident happened last week. This appears to be a very clear case of serious owner failure resulting in some political favors being called in to mete out a personal vendetta with no care or consideration for any members of the community. Seven days is not enough time to properly research the cost and impact of this kind of law. Officials will no doubt find out very soon that there is a cost involved, and a heavy one at that.
Quick laws are, without fail, bad laws.
First and Foremost: Does Clay Alabama have a leash law?
Second: If Clay Alabama has a leash law, why wasn’t it being enforced.
Third: The statement above says they were loose dogs. How many were there? 2, 4, 6, more?
Fourth: If the Sheriff was protecting his property, he was within his rights to use force. How close were the dogs? Were they acting aggressively? Were there witnesses?
There are just too many unanswered questions here. There is enough solid evidence out there to prove – Breed Specific Bans do not work! This whole scenario STINKS! As we used to say: Something is fishy in Denmark!
I have lived in Clay for almost thirty years and several dogs later. I’m very frustrated and upset that the community did not have a say so in this ordinance. Any dog can be a visious dog, no matter what the breed. We have many German Shepherd breeds in our neighborhood and I have had one get away from his owner and attach my sweet lab and almost tear her leg off. So, what about those other visious dogs?
1. Yes, we have leash laws and they are very poorly enforced if at all.
2. See 1.
3. The story is that there were 4 dogs who appeared to be Rottweilers.
4. The exact proximity of the dogs was not described, only that the Sheriff felt threatened. No description of the dogs’ behavior. No witnesses.
And even if the incident in question was one regarding a “pack” of “aggressive” pit bulls, none of which is true, then the breed of the dogs still isn’t the issue. I have a friend who grew up in this neighborhood. Apparently free roaming dogs have been a problem for decades. I, however, live in the same city but in a different neighborhood. Dogs aren’t an issue here. I own a pit bull who has never been aggressive but will now be punished for lack of enforcement of leash laws and lack of control of dogs elsewhere? And all without any public input? It’s beyond fishy.
You stated in your article that this appears to be serious owner failure. The price for your decision will be costly to your town. BSL is wrong . You will fair better with research and education. Snap decisions always have problems . Punish the owners that do not control their animals . Banning any dog will only target the innocent. The other people will just keep on the same path ,you will still have problems cause some people just don’t care anymore.
Breed specific legislation does not work!!! Do NOT blame the breed for owner neglect… we humans have created this and the breed should not suffer! There was a survey and even the officials, behaviorists as well as animal control officers are often wrong when “saying a pitbull” DNA testing had proved that often they are wrong!!!
Hope you will be at the next council meeting. It will not be as secretive as the one yesterday.
The lawmakers in Clay, Alabama, deserve a commendation for placing the safety of its citizens above the rights of owners of dangerous dogs. It is a shame and disgrace that lawmakers in other locations (e.g., Broward County, Florida) chose to listen to pit bull proponents from other parts of the US instead of their own constituents. The election held in Miami-Dade, Florida, last August PROVES the majority of people favor the banning of pit bull-type dogs. Way to go, Clay! If other cities/counties/states would only follow suit!
Are you kidding? If you’ll read above these dogs in the incident that started this were not PIT BULLS, PIT BULL “TYPES” PIT BULL LOOK-A-LIKES…..
I bet if your dog was in the “group” considered vicious you’d feel differently. Open your mind. You’ll also want to check with the Alabama Supreme Court. What they “did” was illegal.
This law that Clay passed is illegal according to the Alabama Supreme Court
“ο The Alabama Supreme Court – WAF/Sheila Tack v. Huntsville Alabama (2002): upheld
decision that pit bulls were no more inherently dangerous than any other breed.”
All these cities that have a BLS are breaking Alabama Law.
To follow up with a little more information on the above statements:
“Huntsville, Alabama police raided a dog-fighting arena on Feb 28, 2002 and seized 10 pit bulls. The city’s attempt to legally euthanize four pit bull puppies, never trained to fight, was stopped by Madison County Circuit Court Judge Joe Battle, who ruled that the pit bull puppies were not dangerous by virtue of their genetics alone (AP Wire; Apr 6, 2002). Huntsville appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court, which affirmed (City of Huntsville v. Sheila Tack et al., 1010459, S.C. Alabama; Aug 30, 2002) the Circuit Court opinion by a 6-2 vote; the written dissent addressed procedural matters of legal status of the parties, not the nature of the dogs. The puppies were adopted.”
Now that’s a true ban. Clay, give yourselves a pat on the backs & I hope to see more of these.
You do realize that Clay like all other cities that have a ban are breaking the law as stated above the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that ” that pit bulls were no more inherently dangerous than any other breed.”(City of Huntsville v. Sheila Tack et al., 1010459, S.C. Alabama; Aug 30, 2002)
I believe that what they did was illegal and the right lawyer would be able to get this overturned. Were the dogs genetically tested to determine if they were pit bulls? i doubt it.. At least now i know where i WONT be moving to with mine ..
I was looking at buying a house in the area and Clay was on my list… not anymore they will join Centerpoint,and Gardendale in my will not consider list. I will not be shopping there any more either.
So let me get this straight. Sheriff Hale was accosted by four dogs (“described as acting aggressive and looking like pit bull breeds”) in his front yard. WOW! That verbiage leaves it wide open for interpretation. He fired a warning shot then grazed one of the dogs with a second shot which scared the dogs away. Animal control responded, caught the dogs, and the owner has been cited. Okay, where is the disparity? The law was followed. That should have been the end of it. However, in come the politicians to react, not against the owner of the dogs, but against the entire citizenry of the City of Clay. I sincerely hope this is NOT a political favor. Sheriff Hale has been around dogs and has worked around the business end of police dogs (no doubt) for many years. My husband has worked dogs for years before I knew him. I was a dog handler in the military and in the State prison system as well. How many of the city council members are responsible dog owners? How many actually know about dogs. Here is a news flash for you…..Pit Bull dogs are not, by nature, vicious dogs. They are friendly and very loyal. They do not fight by choice. They are made to fight. As with any dog, the owner must be responsible in caring for their pet. I will put it to you another way….a rifle, say, a Remington model 700 shoots a .223 round. An AR-15 shoots a .223 round. Both rifles shoot the same round, yet the AR-15 looks like an “assault rifle”…as opposed to what? It is the person behind the gun that causes the end result. The physical difference is cosmetic. The same goes for different breeds of dogs. Yes, each breed (caliber) is different in characteristics and their interaction with their human caretakers, But it is that human interaction that makes each dog different. Why is it that it takes one person or one incident to make the citizens criminals by the hasty and foolish decisions made by the elected officials. Another news flash, folks…..we hired them, we can fire them. Well, for me, that point is well taken. I will do my best to take my business elsewhere. I never thought this backward thinking would be at my front door. I will work to get de-annexed out of the City of Clay. Tell me, if someone uses a gun for evil, are you going to dis-arm the citizens as well? Seems like our city officials are taking notes and getting the mindset of those in Washington, D. C. Again, I truly hope this ridiculous ordinance on BSL was not a political favor and will be as quickly repealed as it was enacted. I have a very high regard for the law in our city and in our state. That trust will be irreparably damaged in my mind’s eye.
Ban our breed and we will ban our spending in your city. May Clay find itself in Bankruptcy as soon as possible!
I see the added comment about the sheriff saying he believes the dogs were not pit bulls but rottweilers ….. that is beyond laughable those dogs look nothing alike! How convenient since Clay already passed and illegal ban according to the Alabama Supreme Court! (City of Huntsville v. Sheila Tack et al., 1010459, S.C. Alabama; Aug 30, 2002)
Misguided, uneducated souls. You must not judge that which you do not have first – hand experience with.
This is insane..WORLD IS NOW WATCHING..THANKS to FACE BOOK you can no longer make decisions like this in a community and not ask the people who live and pay taxes there..hey Sherriff, are sure they werent poodles, give up a break……this was something you wanted and you found a way to push it through withour caring what the people of the comminuti/a
Clay City Council meeting scheduled Monday June 17th. Please attend and show your dissatifaction with your city council taking such a strong action against our pets.
I ask that you please take a new look at this banning of the breed pit bulls, It’s like a fad. In the 1980’s in was the German Shepard, in the 90’s the Rottweillier, as soon as we hit 2000 + now its the pit bulls.
I have seen in my personal experience as an advocate has taught me that almost every single instance of proposed breed specific legislation is motivated by emotion – a reaction to a single, frightening event. Or, maybe it is a reaction to something frightening that could have happened, but didn’t. Breed Specific Legislation is always going to be fueled by fear and a desire to address the issue of safety. It’s always about the fear of not being safe in our own communities.
We all want to feel safe. And that’s something we can all agree on.
I truly believe every breed should have a right to live and not be behind bars. If anyone should be punished it should be the owner of the dog. We all want our communities safe but BSL is not the answer. We need to educate people and they need to be held accountable for any wrong doing on behalf of their animals and or their own actions which leads to an event where a person or other animal is harmed due to the lack of irresponsible dog owners.
I sincerely Thank you for your time.
Mrs. Eunice M. Fernandes
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