Residents Outraged At How Marshall Co. Animal Control Officer Transported Dead Dog

**Click here to read our updated story – the officer has been disciplined over the incident but will keep his job.

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – Residents in Marshall County were outraged over actions of the county’s animal control officer on Monday afternoon.

Drivers on U.S. Highway 431 came face to face with the remains of a dead dog that appeared to be hanging out of the officer’s truck.

One person who was offended took a picture and emailed it to WHNT NEWS 19, asking us to follow up with the officer’s boss.

WARNING: Some may find the image of the incident included lower in this story graphic.

Marshall County Animal Control Officer Kevin Hooks showed WHNT NEWS 19 the vehicle he drives every day, as he handles all kinds of cases involving animals.

“It’s a hard job,” said Hooks.

But people driving on the highway saw a different look to the truck.  Hooks had secured the body of a dead dog to the tailgate of his truck.

We have blurred the image of the dead dog hanging out of the back of the truck. (Photo: Viewer)

We have blurred the image of the dead dog hanging out of the back of the truck. (Photo: Viewer)

One woman took a picture and emailed WHNT NEWS 19 to find out more information.

The witness said a few drivers tried to make Hooks aware of the situation at a traffic light, getting out their vehicles to point to the dog hanging off the back of Hooks’ truck.

“I’m not trying to defend that,” said Marshall County Commission Chairman James Hutcheson.

He said first thing Tuesday morning, he began investigating what happened, meeting with Hooks and listening to his explanation.

“He didn’t have room to put the dead dog in the back,” said Hutcheson about what Hooks told him.  “So he put it on the tailgate, which was a mistake and he transported it to be disposed of.”

Hooks told WHNT NEWS 19 he had live stray dogs in the other cages and wanted to keep them from destroying the dead dog.  Hooks said he also wanted to avoid making two 70-mile round trips.

“The mistake he made was not making two trips,” said Chairman Hutcheson. “He should have took the live animals and put them in the location and then he should have came back, put the large animal inside the box, closed it up so it wasn’t visible to the public.”

Hooks admits he should have done things differently, but says it shouldn’t cost him his job.

“All I did was try to respectfully discard an animal carcass,” said Hooks. “I didn’t want to leave it for wild animals in the field… I just wish we would have transported it a little different.”

Hooks does have a controversial past in Marshall County.  He has held the position for seven years.

In 2012, residents turned in a petition against him to the County Commission, angry over the way he handled various cases.

Hutcheson said he took appropriate action then, but wouldn’t elaborate.

Due to Hooks’ past, this incident could be grounds for dismissal.

Hutcheson says he’s still investigating and will make a decision soon.

75 comments

      • Brian Thompson

        This is stupid! He was trying not to waste taxpayers money by wasting fuel and the time on the clock. The dog is dead for Christ sakes! It’s not like its a human or anything. I’m a dog lover and have two myself but it’s not like he was abusing a live animal. This is a classic catch 22 damed if you do damed if you don’t. He was set up for faliure and that is not his fault! Get over yourselves! Also is this really worthy of news coverage, don’t we have better things to worry about in theis state and country?!?

      • Brittany phillips

        It wasnt a mistake and that is a problem for example kids seeing it in the car when their behind him and its not his gas hes paying for its the companys and he gets paid by the hour so it doesnt matter bout that

      • Debbie

        He said the other dogs were “in cages” and didn’t want them to bother the dead dog..If they were in cages..tell me HOW they could have done ANYTHING to it?! He saw a pit bull, probably killed it and didn’t give a FLIP about being proud of what he’d done~! Period~!

      • ariel

        actually youre the narrow minded idiot to think that youre not any different from that dog, were all the same as any animal and should be treated the same. would you like it if you saw a dead person on the back of a truck? no, so whats the difference. ever since they passed that law that allows them to “take action” on “vicious” animals they’ve been shooting dogs left and right and youre either heartless or stupid to not see anything wrong with that

      • Ron

        A dead dog for everyone to see on the back of a truck. You cant be serious. It doesnt matter if we have more important things to worry about. Everyone or everything deserves some dignity when we are dead.

    • Nita

      I agree. so what if it took him 2 trips. that would be the appropriate and decent thing to do. the dog was dead but still deserved better than that.

    • Johnson

      Get a grip, lady. Yes, he should have carried the dog differently, but fire him for that? Are you crazy?

  • Ralph Connor Jr

    At least three more hours on the clock to make two trips. Who would have authorized that overtime; and who would have wanted him hung out to dry if he had just committed the county to pay him overtime by deciding on his own authority to make the extra trip. He was being realistic. Give him the additional resources he needs to do a better job and get over it…

  • Ralph Connor Jr

    By the way, I can imagine how much he is probably making in salary. If everyone is so upset with the way he does his job while he accepts whatever level of pay he is being offered, then offer better pay and hire an appropriately qualified person to do the job. Or simply accept that you get what you pay for…

  • Sean

    really are all people so sensitive that you would prefer a man to lose his job for doing his job , I mean really it was a dead dog it was secured to a truck not like he was dragging it behind the truck ,if any thing he should be thanked for not wasting a full tank of gas of tax payers money to retrieve it with two trips , ya he probably should have at lest covered the dog, mistake so write him up but to fire him over this is moronic ,and I would ask you sherry are you perfect? and are you so easily offended that you so easily call for some ones job maybe you should just where blinders and stay home

  • Yep!

    People are ignorant. They don’t see what happens behind the scenes but then raise cane when they hear about the budgets. An additional drive would’ve been extra gas and extra pay then everyone would complain about that. Why not take this energy into making sure that this man has no reason to have a job by helping decrease the unwanted animal population rather than trying to hang a man out to dry for trying to be more efficient so you all don’t have to pay his over time! Isn’t there better things to do. You know, more productive things to do like go play with your dog chained up in your back yard 24/7? Volunteer at a shelter? Donate to the SNAP program? Nope, let’s spend time pointing fingers at people!

  • pet lover

    sounds like this guy was trying to not have to remake a return trip because it was approximately between 430 and 5 o’clock when he was seen in Guntersville. My son in law also took a picture of that poor dog

  • Gene Small

    How do these people manage to drive anywhere? You see dead animals in/near the road all the time. If they are so offended then they should just stay home, leave the tv off and draw the curtains so that LIFE does not interfere with their pitiful existence.

  • John

    Or he could have left the carcass and someone would have taken a picture of him driving off and not picking it up which would cause a new subject of conversation. Looks as if he was doomed in making any decision. Seek first to understand…then be understood. He has a job many would never take.

  • soldier

    he should have covered the dog. perhaps put the dog in a black garbage bag. i too am an animal lover and while i think this kevin hooks should be reprimanded i don’t think he should lose his job over this incident. i mean c’mon the dog was dead. i see dogs and other domesticated animals dead all the time yet i never see anyone stop to move the animals out of sight.

  • Kathy A.

    Considering the residents of Marshall county pay for the vehicle upkeep and the gas, I’d say he efficiently saved us some money. At least he had the decency to try to do the right thing and the forethought not to put the dead dog in with the live ones. I agree with Gene. It’s easy enough to ignore the ones that are on the side of the road. It’s within the man’s job description to transport dead animals. Let him do his freaking (thankless) job, since not many others would do it. United States of the Offended!

  • Cheryl

    Yes, made bad mistake. Dead dog hanging on tailgate not a very pleasant ssight I am sure! Should have covered dog to keep out of public sight. He sshould have called boss & got ok to add dog to full truck or to make 2 trips. If county has had multiple complaints about way he does job since 2012 situation with him should have been handled in 2 years time. Someone dropped the ball on handling situation with him earlier I guess.

  • The Voice of Reason

    It isn’t just this incident. This was definitely a mistake, on top of all of the others he’s made over the years. There are calls he never even showed up to, animals he had destroyed too soon in violation of Alabama law, shooting animals IN their owners yards, luring animals out of the owners yards so he could get them. He was a problem when he worked for the city of Albertville, and he continues to be a problem.

    • Nita

      The man has a history of problems besides the dead dog. He should not have continued to work as an animal control officer at all. He has several or many violations from the comments and reports i have seen on here. Sounds like he does this cause he knows nothing will be done. He should be fired. And if others want to condone this kind of behavior then you are just as sorry as he is.

  • Cathy copeland

    I feel at least he didn’t leave the dead dog behind .i feel he done the rite thing thing .if he left the dog an went the dog may have been drug out from other wild things are tore apart .i think he done the rite thing by not leaving it behind ..every one makes a a mistake one one is perfect so got over it .an no he shouldn’t lose his job !

  • mac sharpe

    It bugs me that people drive around with dead deer tied to their trucks. Is there a way to pass a law or ordinance and have these people arrested.I have also seen other dead animals on the side of the road can these people not stop and call the police to have them removed.

  • Alisa

    I would also like to say that a few year ago, that a marshal co truck that transports animals was at a dealership for repairs and there was a dog in it outside in the heat in the parking lot for who knows how long until it was pulled in for repair and that’s when it was discovered the dog was in the truck. The supervisor did contact the driver and it was not plesent. Dont know if any action was taken towards that driver.

  • pam guthrie

    I agree that he should have put it in a bag or something but people are complaining about seeing a dead animal on the back of a truck? I can’t begin to tell you how many dead deer carcuses that I have personally seen on the back of trucks or on trailers or on the racks on 4 wheelers. Whats the difference? An animal is an animal.

  • Lynn

    This man doesn’t CARE. I won’t say HOW I know this, but I DO. I can in all honesty say that he does NOT do his job, usually cannot be FOUND to do it and IF you get to talk to him, he is rude and indifferent. He should have been fired LONG AGO~!!!!! It’s way past time that this job be filled by a person who actually wants to EARN money and who CARES about animals~!

  • Staci Snellings

    I personally saw this dog Monday evening about 5pm… I was in no way offended by it. If I had a 2 yr old or any other child with me I would have simply explained that the doggy was sleeping or that he was gone to doggy heaven where he would get to play & eat bones all day now. We, as well as our children see dead animals on the side of the roads all the time…. At least this one was not smoothed & bloody, it was on its way to a proper disposal.
    I understand it could have been covered up but it’s not reason to fire a man from a job by any means!! It is ridiculous that people have to be so petty over an already dead dog. If Hooks had made 2 trips & gotten paid over time then people would raise hell about that too! People…. We have DRUG DEALERS, THIEVES & MURDERS out there running around & we want to punish a man for transporting a secured “dead” dog on the back of his truck?? (it was by far NOT on the edge of the tailgate or anything!).
    Our city has more that they should be focusing on than this surely!!!

  • Julie

    Marshall County and this officer have a track record of not acting in the best interest of animals. This is just another incident in a list of many. This officer is hostile and rude and imposisble to deal with. In my own dealings with him, I believe he enjoys killing animals. He takes no responsibility for his actions and “passes the buck” whenever he gets the chance. I believe he should have handled this situation differently and it should cost him his job. This is not his first offense against the animals of Marshall County. To all concerned about the money it would costs to make another trip, this officer is costing the County far more than gas with his constant poor decisions. He seems to be preoccupied with personal errands while in a county truck, he doesn’t mind using the County’s gas then.

    • Sharon Spero

      Well, your attitude toward animals is shining in your remark,”Just a dead dog”. Hope you are not a pet owner. If you had not though past this, I am wondering how you would feel about your small children riding in the car immediately behind him and seeing this. It was a gross misjudgment he probably will not make again.There are other folks out they that may not have the lack of sensitivity that you have and they deserve respect too. The dog could have been covered and transported in another area of the truck.

  • Kim

    OK tell me this. Did you complain about that DEER on that 4wheeler in the back of that truck. Did you so to pick up that dead animal you passed Friday on your way to school? NOPE. Well guess what that tire just splattered it more we the child looked out the window. DID YOU TURN THAT IN ? My point is he was doing his job of removing a dead animal in struck that is used for this. He could ha e let it rott in front of your house until it decayed. WOULD YOU LIKE THAT .. YOU ARE GONNA GRIP EITHER WAY . At least he done his job on City time. When you say city workers never do anything.

  • Jeremy Smith

    COME ON PEOPLE..
    Would you rather see it on the side of the road??
    Thank you Officer!!
    Give the man a raise

    • Cindy

      you are an idiot, what if a child saw that? He needs to be fired, only shows what kind of “human” he is, wonder what else he does to animals???

  • tara

    At least Marshall County HAS animal control. Here in Calhoun County, our county commissioners allowed a newly formed humane society group to take over animal control from the county, with the contract stating the group would perform the tasks formerly done by the county animal control. They are paid $204,000.00 per year of our tax dollars to do this. Well, if you call there now, they will tell you “We are not animal control, we do not pick up animals, alive or dead.” They also have started charging $10.00 per animal that is brought in by county citizens, whether it belongs to the citizen or it’s a stray. The results in just the 4 months since the takeover? Multiple dead animals left on the roadways, multiple animals dumped because residents are now charged for a service they already pay for, and who wants to pay twice for something? If they are full they will refuse to take the animals, which leads people to dump them. They fired experienced staff and kept on rehab workers and brought in county inmates to ‘clean’ the place. It stinks worse than ever! The inexperienced new staff over medicated animals, which were then rushed to an out of county vet, claiming they had been poisoned before being brought to the shelter. They force adopters to foster animals they don’t want, mix litters of puppies spreading disease like parvo and distemper. They send animals to out of state rescues before allowing local adoptions. The list goes on and on….The local paper will not report on this, We need someone to come in and investigate them!

  • Lloyd Borden

    You are so news hungry. We haul Bambi’s cousins up and down the road with blood dripping off the truck. We jerk the guts out of bass in Lake Guntersville and praise the guy who does it best. And, we cut innocent babies apart in the womb because they are too large to expel otherwise. Officer Hooks was just doing his job…..hauling a dead dog. For that you would take his job!

  • Brandon Dorrough

    Come on people stop bein idiots. Its a darn dead dog. The kids see them dead on the road every day along with all other type animals. When you see a deer on the bed of a truck do you tell your kids not to look? No you say look at that deer the hunter got! Get with reality folks. I love animals, but if its dead its dead. No matter wher or how its auled its dead. And the price of gas (at his cost or not) is still expensive and is comin out of ur checks to pay for it. So yes get it all in one trip n save it!

  • Angie

    You would think someone that has been on the job many year’s that he has would have been respectful and covered the dog up!! Some of us consider our pets family!! Have respect and take pride in your job!!!

  • plowboysghost

    It’s a DOG. It wasn’t being tortured or mutilated pre or post mortem. You people need some perspective.

  • Jim

    I personally dont care if they pile up the dead carcasses of all the dead animals that they find along side the road in the back of an open pickup for all to see. You go around and pick up dead carcasses. Ok, I dont know the guys history, but the outrage over people seeing a dead dog on a tailgate is pretty lame. Give the guy a counseling and inform him to cover animals in the future. If this is just another issue with him, document and take action..

  • Really Aville

    The girl that reported this and took the picture is always the center of drama. So not saying this is a pointless story but there are more important things going on in the world. I agree 100% that this should have been handled way differently but I don’t think he ahold lose his job over this. He should be punished but he shouldn’t be fired. I’m sure he has a family to take care of just like you do. Think about that

  • Chris

    Who cares about a dead dog?!?! I’m only ticked if he leaves it close to my house where I have to smell the rotting, stinking thing. Tie it to the hood of the truck for all I care. Just get it the heck away from my house. What’s the big deal? It’s a dog. It’s dead.

  • Ron White

    William Shakespeare wrote a play with a befitting title that is obviously an accurate and appropriate title for this story. It was called,”Much ado About Nothing”

  • THE OBVIOUS

    Look tat the pictures on the top shelf in this video any one want to complain ? I can’t believe they would show this on tv (SARCASM INSERTED HERE) Those to are dead animals hangining on the wall but all of you complainers haven’t seen a problem with that ! A child may have seen tthose on TV anyone want to call that out too ! Do we not have better things to do? Really people?

  • Lori Davis

    I agree with those commenting to the Deer that are proudly displayed on trucks all the time .. The man should in no way be fired. How about the animals owner getting a big fine for not taking care of their pet. It should have been home in a fence on a chain or laying on the couch. Get a grip and worry about real issues…

  • Joel

    I think its interesting that WHNT chose to show the video of the commissioner online but not the officer….Seems a bit misleading to not tell or show the complete story. What is happeninis like convicting the undertaker for burying grandma. Nobody seems concerned about what caused the dog to be dead to begin with…He was doing his job and apparently trying to be cost effective while doing it.

  • Leon

    James Hutcheson lets don’t forget about your land taxes scandal before you start judging another county employee!!!!!!!

  • Gina

    What big babies most of you are. You complain when the City/County Employees don’t do their jobs and You complain when they do their jobs. Sure he could have left the DEAD dog and picked him up the next day, But Then Someone would have complained about that. Leave the Guy Alone!!!!!!

  • D C

    This gas money he saved allowed the budget to pay for more food to keep from euthanizing many more alive dogs. The people screaming about how wrong this was must support the gassing of live animals. Or many they are just always searching for their next case of faux outrage.

  • Liz

    You people are ridiculous! Of all things to be concerned with when there is so much more going on in the world. Did you EVER stop to think this dog MAY have bit a child or killed someone’s pet? And you actually WANT a man to lose his JOB over something this ridiculous? Please…I know you people can’t be so sensitive to seeing a dead dog on a truck when you see them on the side of the road. You should be ashamed of yourselves for wanting to cost a MAN his job, something that could destroy his life and possibly his family’s life with the way the economy is today. To me that’s worse than seeing a dead dog on a truck. You would have reported him if he would have left it and you would have reported him for taking it. Maybe if you spend more time concerned about the issues in your OWN life you wouldn’t have time to worry about such nonsense. Good grief…get a life!!!!

  • mandy

    this dog was not secured to the tail gait of the truck, it was held in the door of the cage, part of the body inside the cage and the back end and tail hanging out. he should have covered the dog with a tarp and tied it to the truck. he should carrie a tarp for cases such as this. and as for the carcasses of deer on trailers and trucks, these hunters have paid for a hunting license so its there right to haul it home how they wants to.if there were other animals in the cages of this truck why is part of the dead dog inside one of them. ive been around the humane society and my husband worked for them. there are definately correct ways to do things. ive also seen people who do this type of work just for the control it gives them, not because they care about animals or because they cant find any other job. its just that they can be as cruel ofr heartless as they want to without anyone complaining, dogs cant talk and dead dogs usually mattereven less.

  • Carolyn

    And so says I am not offended by dead deer being hauled around? Who says I don’t get upset when I see a dead dog on the side of the road? And this incident just reinforces the lack of compassion towards animals, and the accompanying lack of compassion for other people.

  • matt

    Whatever the dog was dead ya’ll would complane about it being on the side of the road. Besides the dead dog could of caused a reck by everone looking at it ob the side of the road .

  • Liz

    Talk about humanity…it was a dead dog. But you people are willing to CONDEMN a man for trying to do his job, asking people to throw things at him, trying to get his job taken away, etc. You should be ashamed of yourselves. What about the woman who posted the picture for EVERYONE to see? Why don’t you attack her? She is the reason more people saw it and your CHILDREN could see it. I can’t wait until his attorney nails her a*s for the posts she has on her facebook page. From my understanding all facebook posts regarding this will be subpoenaed…maybe that will shut you people up. Grow up and get a life and leave the man alone!!!!

  • Jason

    Hello Liz, I would like for any attorney to subpoena all the posts. Just hope you are not in them. Just like working his ( I mean his wife’s fence company) while on County time. Going out of county while on County time. I live one mile from Kevin and we as a community knows what he does. So we will all be glad to have this brought up.As for nailing someones a*$, that can be brought up also. Plase have a blessed life!

  • snoopy

    Point is don’t think the dog catchers truck or the dog catcher should be at ANY motel on marshall county time. But the truck & Mr. Hooks has been seen at several motels, dirt roads, ect. on company time. & out of marshall county. WHY should marshall county dog catcher be in other counties while in the Marshall county animal control truck using marshall couties gas. unless he has premisson & is buying his own gas on his own time. also doing fencing work while getting paid to pick up animals he has side bussinesses going on at same time. ALL these things should be done on his time or after he clocks out of work. & in his own personal truck/car??? Then it is no ones bussiness but his, & his wifes & his mistress but when he does it on company time & tax dollars are being used for him to have his personal stuff going on then he is putting his personal life out there in the public eyes & everyone has their own opinions????

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