BOAZ, Ala. - Boaz Police say the animal control officer who put down several dogs in bad condition wasn't able to capture them with a tranquilizer, and after multiple attempts to catch them put them down with a firearm due to safety and health concerns.
We have received many phone calls, emails, and concerns through social media about a recent incident in Boaz regarding the local animal control officer and the removal of dogs from a residence near the Boaz Golf Club.
Boaz Police Chief Scott Farish tells us the animal control officer was unable to capture the dogs with a tranquilizer and had to shoot them with a firearm. He stressed that the safety of the public was a concern.
Chief Farish says it is very unusual for the officer to take this action, and when at all possible will take the animals to get care.
We're told it's common for the animal control officer to carry a gun, in case he encounters a dangerous or injured animal.
Chief Farish says the move to use a gun rather than a tranquilizer was the best action the officer thought necessary, given the condition of the dogs and the possible threat to the public. He says the decision could have mounted on aspects like the precise location of the dogs and the threat to the public because of any unknown diseases the dogs might have if the dogs were to run off.
The Boaz Police Department released a statement saying:
"The animal control officer responded to the residence where the dogs had been dropped, and the owner of the property wished the dogs to be removed. The animal control officer noticed that the dogs were covered in mange and appeared to be sickly. However, after several attempts to catch the dogs, the officer was unable to do so and informed the home owner of this fact. After talking with the property owner and with a neighbor, it was decided that to remove the dogs, they would have to be put down. The home owner and neighbor both agreed with the animal control officer that because of the conditions of the dogs and for the safety of the public, it was best to put the dogs down. The officer had no alternative except to remove the dogs due to their conditions and concerns about the health, welfare, and safety of the public. The first option of the Boaz ACO is always to capture animals unharmed and to deliver them to an animal clinic and never to harm or injure an animal unless that choice is a last resort. Rarely does an animal or animals have to be dealt with in the manner which was used in this incident."
The homeowners where the dogs were killed declined to be interviewed on camera, but did tell us "the animal control officer did what he had to do."
Doug McgGee with 2nd Chance Shelter says two dogs, siblings to the dogs put down, are in their care. They had been dropped off near the location of the other dogs, and were rescued days before. "Same age, according to the person we talked to, everything sounds the same. Same condition," McGee says.
"They're going to recover. We took them straight to the vet's office. They had worms and mange, but the vet says it's all treatable and we've got them on medication and they're recovering, little by little," he says.
McGee says negligence started the entire situation. "Somebody was an irresponsible pet owner by letting those have puppies after that happened to let them get in that condition."
According to the 2nd Chance Shelter in Boaz, the dogs pictured below are believed to be the siblings of those that were put down at the residence near the golf course.
The dogs should be adoptable in a few weeks.
Boaz police are investigating the incident to ensure that all proper measures were taken and to implement corrective procedures if necessary. The city of Boaz's website says the animal control officer "has many tools to handle most of the situations that are presented. Such as traps for elusive and small animals to remove them to safer locations, as well as a tranquilizing system for larger and vicious animals."