Rainsville City Council passes new animal ordinance to prevent attacks

RAINSVILLE, Ala. - The Rainsville City Council passed a new ordinance for pets at Monday night's meeting.  The ordinance gives the council more authority over how vicious animals are handled in the city.

"Our attorney has been working on it for the past week or two weeks trying to get that to be a little bit better for us," says Mayor Roger Lingerfelt.

The city's current pet ordinance coincides with the state's "Responsible Pet Ownership", putting the responsibility on the owner.

They take care of the pets. They keep them in their yards or pins just so they're responsible for what they do," says Mayor Lingerfelt.

 

Usually when an animal attacks, it is taken away from the owner for 10 days for evaluation and then returned to them.

The owner has power over what happens next with the animal, but Mayor Lingerfelt wants that changed.

 

"We would be like that next step back and we would have a little say so in the dog if it comes back in the city or if it's kept in a pin."

The city council introduced this new plan to residents in Monday night's meeting.

"I'm feeling like we're finally getting somewhere. Something needed to be done and it needed to be done in a hurry,"says Gary Haymon, victim of a recent dog attack.

Tears filled the room as Haymon retold his story about the day a dog attacked him. Many residents of Rainsville have been troubled ever since.

"Everyone is in fear to let their children play outside, to walk down the street," said Rachel Bobbitt, a Rainsville resident.

Many came to the meeting to express their concerns.

"The first thing that came to my mind would be my daughter, well actually my entire family.. my wife and my kids," says resident Tommy Williams.

"We got a three-year-old daughter and I can't imagine how I would feel if something would've happened to her."

The city council answered questions but also explained the terms of the new ordinance.

"I'm excited that they're taking the situation seriously and I'm in high hopes that this is going to cut down on the number of dog attacks," says Bobbitt.

The new pet ordinance goes into effect this week. Residents had an array of questions in regards to what exactly the ordinance would cover. Many were concerned with liability and financial compensation if they were attacked.

Others questioned how they defined a "dangerous animal" in the ordinance. The council said they'll continue to work with their lawyer to see what can be included in the ordinance.

To go along with the ordinance, members of the Rainsville Police Department will be patrolling the area for stray animals, as well as responding to calls about animal threats.