Arab City Officials, Health Department Speak On Actions Following Dog Attack

ARAB, Ala. (WHNT) — The Marshall County Health Department is monitoring at least 10 dogs after they attacked a woman.

Arab Police say a woman tried to break up a fight between at least 10 of her son’s dogs at a home near Highway 69 on Friday. That’s when the dogs turned on her.

Witnesses tell WHNT News 19 the scene was horrific. It’s what followed the attack that has neighbors, witnesses, and area residents calling for change.

Arab Assistant Police Chief Shane Washburn says the department has a standard protocol in cases like this.  After officers fill out the report, it is sent to the county’s health department.

“Once we make the referral to the health department, they make the decision if the dogs need to be quarantined,” Assistant Chief Washburn says.

Officers then enforce the decision made by the health department.

Over the weekend, officers ordered the dogs to be kept in a secure location, like the owner’s home, until the department could make a decision about where the dogs will be quarantined.

Since the dogs have owners, the county health department has the decision that the dogs be quarantined for 10 days in the owner’s home or a veterinarian’s office.

Marie Stephens with the Marshall County Health Department says because the dogs were not up to date on their vaccinations, the department is ordering them to be kept at a veterinarian’s office for the duration of the quarantine.

Stephens says because the dogs have an owner and are not strays, that’s their only option.

“The health department does not ever issue an order to have an animal put down,” Stephens says. “We do advise, in the cases of a stray animal or a wild animal, it is advised that the animal be put down and tested to see if it is a carrier of rabies. If it is an owned animal then the owner has the option of quarantining the animal rather than having it put down and tested.”

Stephens says once that quarantine is over and if the dogs are found to be of good health and show no symptoms of rabies, they will be allowed to go back with their owner.

Arab Police say this protocol has been in place for years and there has never been an issue with it.

Officers tell WHNT News 19 the department has never received a complaint about the dogs prior to Friday.

Neighbors and area residents say they don’t feel safe with the protocol for this type of situation in place and say they would like to see it changed.

Monday afternoon, Arab Mayor Bob Joslin spoke with the city’s legal department about the protocols in place. He says he’s told the police department acted in accordance with the state laws.

Mayor Joslin says this situation was different because it was on private property, but the city council is looking into any measures that may prevent a situation like this from happening in the future on public property.

Mayor Joslin says he has been in contact with several concerned citizens and neighbors near the home where the attack happened.

8 comments

  • Dog lover

    I missed the part about why the owner has 10 dogs. If they are a breeder, then the dogs should be registered and vaccinated.

  • bog lover and cat lover

    yes they should have to give them vaccinated and they should need to registered them for breeding

  • worried_mother

    Unfortunately, there is no law against the number of dogs you can own in the county. This story is terrible… My husband & I have had an uphill battle with the dog laws in Limestone County – 4 months ago our 17lb dog was attacked & killed in our backyard by a pack of SIX wolf-hybrids (all owned by the same man)…She suffered from 2 collapsed lungs, 6 crushed ribs, and over a dozen puncture wounds. These “dogs” ran and hunted as a pack of wolves & attacked a total of 3 dogs that morning. We have a list of witnesses who have seen these “dogs” running loose on numerous occasions before the attack, & since the attack. Our initial purpose of researching the law was to protect our son, as well as the children in our area – TO STOP AN ATTACK ON A HUMAN BEFORE IT HAPPENS!! unfortunately, we were only able to file charges against the owner for “not having control of his animal(s)”… BUT (no surprise) there is no law against owning multple wolf-dogs in the county. At criminal court he got a measely $50 fine… he had lied to the deputy, claiming only 3 of the dogs were his and that his dogs were not part wolf (we can prove both are lies)… there was not even an inspection on his old and rotten fence, yet the fence has to hold SIX of these “dogs” (the alpha male easily weighs 160+lbs). When my husband asked the DA about the owner paying our vet bills he was told to go through civil court – meaning we would have to pay $$ for a lawyer. We have met w/a good lawyer, who has high hopes for the case, but we honestly don’t have the extra $$ to hire him (I am employed on the arsenal, but we are still recovering from previous financial problems)… THE COUNTY DOG LAWS NEED TO CHANGE ASAP!!! Dogs who live in a pack are much much more likely to attack, or be vicious, than if they were by themselves! If you are going to own multiple dogs, you MUST know what you’re doing!! I want to be clear, that I am NOT against ANY breed of dog – I merely detest irresponsible OWNERS and irresponsible breeding.

    This news story is exactly what the people in our area are afraid of = the Arab dogs were fighting one another, then turned on a woman the moment she tried to intervene… what if this were a child walking their pet in their neighborhood when, out of nowhere, strange dogs charge and attack the child’s pet… and out of reaction, the child tries to intervene?… =( There are at least 25 children living withing a mile radius of the careless owner I am referring to in Limestone County. Irresponsible pet owners MUST be held accountable BEFORE an attack happens!! BEFORE! I pray that this family has better luck in Arab, than we have had in Limestone Co… sorry so long

  • Jim

    Laws in the county tend to not be very good. Basically you can do anything you want out in the county without any reprecusions. I pesonally think counties and all municipalities should have animal control laws that target nusiance, agressive dogs, and dogs that have attacked people and or other animals. I personally feel that any dog that attacks a human like that unless its a minor bite should be destroyed immediately. If they have no qualms about attacking people they are a danger to society and have forfeited the right to exist in my book.

  • Alisa

    I also live in Etowah co and have a neighbor with several big dogs. He has a fence made out of some kind of wire and barely three feet tall and his dogs get out all the time. They also run in a pack. When my grandbabies come over, to play in the back yard, my guard is always up because of the fear those dogs will come into my yard. I do believe the counties need strict laws just like a city does when it comes to dogs running free.

  • Anti-pit bull

    Ever thought that vicious dogs may (repeat, may) be protecting something like illegal activities. Hummmmmmmmm??????

  • christiancelt

    Arab Police say this protocol has been in place for years and there has

    never been an issue with it.

    Sounds like they need to revisit this sort of situation… and dogs that attack, even one another cannot be trusted… what are you all waiting for ????? A child to die?

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