City of Florence looking to update vicious dogs law

WAFF's Jasmyn Cornell reporting
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 8:30 AM CDT
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FLORENCE, Ala. (WAFF) - City leaders in Florence are looking to enhance the ordinance on vicious dogs.

Cheryl Jones, Director of Animal Services with the Florence-Lauderdale Animal Services, says she proposed the changes to the existing ordinance on vicious dogs. According to Jones, the law only addresses dogs that attack people; her proposal covers dogs that attack other dogs.

The City Council’s Public Safety Committee unanimously approved moving forward with Jones’ changes.

Councilwoman Michelle Eubanks of District 4, who is a member of the committee, says summer is quickly approaching, and they want to make sure everyone is safe outside.

“Children may be on their bikes, folks just may be enjoying the warmer weather,” said Eubanks. “Whether they’re doing it alone or with their own pets,... we want to make sure that it’s safe.”

Eubanks says the proposed ordinance is all about control and behavior. If an animal attacks another animal, they want to make sure the owner follows proper protocols to prevent the attack from happening again, she said.

“This helps add a layer of safety to that process, and it gives our animal control folks an opportunity to really help pet owners know how to better care for their animals,” said Eubanks.

She and Councilwoman Kaytrina Simmons, another member of the committee, have had issues with dangerous dogs in their district.

In March, a resident from Eubanks’ district was walking her dog, and a neighbor’s dog attacked that dog, according to Eubanks. Eubanks says thankfully, both dogs are fine, but changes are needed.

“There will be some opportunities for training and some opportunities for behavioral help that sometimes just different animal owners need,” said Eubanks.

“People need to be comfortable in their neighborhood, and they need to be able to feel like they can walk their dog and not have to worry about another dog coming out from another house and jumping on their dog,” said Jones.

City Attorney Bill Musgrove is currently reviewing the proposed changes. Eubanks says the Public Safety Committee hopes to vote on them at the next city council meeting on Tuesday, June 6.

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