RED BAY, Ala. (WHNT) – Red Bay city council members have voted unanimously to change the city’s animal ordinance. It’s something that’s been on the mayor’s agenda since last year.

“We have a dog issue in Red Bay and it made me very, very concerned about the safety of our citizens with dogs roaming at large,” said Red Bay Mayor Charlene Fancher.

In April of last year, local resident Michelle Sheeks was attacked close to Red Bay city limits by a pack of dogs while on a walk near her home. She later died from her injuries in July.

One day after the attack on Sheeks, Jacqueline Beard, an investigator with the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), was attacked and killed by dogs while investigating the attack on Sheeks.  

“It was at that time when I really started digging into our animal ordinance. I was very concerned about the incidents that happened, and I didn’t want that to happen again,” said Fancher.

The animal ordinance was amended Wednesday afternoon during a city council meeting.

The ordinance now states if a dog has been in the city’s care for more than 10 days, the city has the authority to transport that animal to the Franklin County Animal Control Center.  

Mayor Fancher tells News 19 it’s because the city’s space is limited when it comes to housing stray dogs.

“Some of the animals we have in our shelter have been there since last August. That tells you how much we care about the dogs. They could’ve been euthanized a long time ago, and we have not done that. We care and we’re trying to find homes for these dogs, but at the same time the city cannot afford to pay for months and months,” added Fancher. 

The mayor says she hopes those who have animals will step up and take care of their pet.

“I’m a dog lover too, but I just want people to take responsibility. Don’t get a dog if you’re not going to take care of your animal, bottom line,” said Fancher.