County plans to discuss dogs at future work session

Published 2:22 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Members of the Chilton County Commission plan to hold a work session to discuss problems caused by dogs running at large, and what could be done to address the issue.

The topic was brought up during the regularly scheduled meeting on Monday when a resident approached the commission regarding dog issues he has been having.

Braxton Baker, who previously spoke to commissioners during the Feb. 8 meeting, told commissioners he has had a problem with dogs on his property.

Baker owns two pieces of property in Chilton County, one off County Road 85.

“A neighbor’s dog destroyed my garden,” Baker said. “It kept on and on. I spoke with the sheriff and he told me what I could clearly do, but I don’t want to do that. I simply want my property to be protected in the county. I would ask that you all would lend some support for those trying to do the right thing and be good neighbors.”

Commission Chairman Allen Caton said the only thing the commission could legally pass at this time is an outdated section of the Code of Alabama that is commonly referred to as a “leash law.”

“That law would not work for what we feel like needs to be done,” Caton said. “The commission has had a work session to look at opportunities, but the commission is committed to doing something.”

The section of the code states: “Every person owning or having in charge any dog or dogs shall at all times confine such dog or dogs to the limits of his own premises or the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Nothing in this section shall prevent the owner of any dog or dogs or other person or persons having such dog or dogs in his or their charge from allowing such dog or dogs to accompany such owner or other person or persons elsewhere than on the premises on which such dog or dogs is or are regularly kept. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than $2 nor more than $50.”

“This section shall not apply to the running at large of any dog or dogs within the corporate limits of any city or town in this state that requires a license tag to be kept on dogs nor shall this section apply in any county in this state until the same has been adopted by the county commission of such county.”

Commissioner Joseph Parnell told Baker the commission was only allowed to authorize existing laws from the state Legislature.

“The law was written in 1915, and it allows for a penalty of $5,” Parnell said. “If your neighbor has enough disregard for you to continue to tear your yard up, a penalty of $5 is not going to fix the problem.”

Commissioner Shannon Welch said he thought it would be a good idea for the commission to meet together again with the sheriff and members of his department and work to come up with a plan.

“Without a plan, you are destined to fail,” Welch said. “I think we should have another work session in the future and put our heads together to see what other states have, and what other counties have and to see if we could come up with some legislation.”

Caton told Baker he would be invited to the work session once the commission worked out a time to meet.

Commissioners agreed to contact Rep. Jimmy Martin to see when he could meet for a work session to discuss possible options for the county’s dog issue.

For more from Monday’s meeting, check a future edition of The Clanton Advertiser or visit