Shelter to rethink fees?

Published 9:34 pm Wednesday, March 21, 2007

By Staff
Letter to the Editor
Last Sunday, March 11, 2007, Tray Smith, a sophomore at ECHS that lives outside of the city limits wrote an article for The Atmore Advance in reference to the Animal Shelter fees, fines and city ordinances. Smith raised several good questions, all which should be answered in this article. The City of Atmore, as well as the State of Alabama, has in place laws and ordinances the public and public officials voted to be law. The Animal Control Officers do the same job Atmore Police Officers, State Troopers and Game Wardens do, they simply enforce Animal Rights and Laws. Sometimes by doing so people get offended and upset. These laws have been active in Atmore for many years, this in nothing new to the City of Atmore. The Atmore Animal Shelter is not intruding into the daily lives of Atmoreons they are only trying to make Atmore a safer and better place to live.
Smith states that "Strays add character to the community. If they get out of hand or behave violently their owners should be punished and Animal Control Unit should respond." This statement may be true in Mayberry, where "DUKE" just lays on the front porch and harms no one. But in the real world sometimes dogs and cats get into trash, carry diseases and sometimes get ran over. Animals can't speak for themselves to tell us if they are a neighborhood figure who goes house to house visiting friends in the community. This is where the City License helps Animal Control. The loose animals are easily returned to their owners and are not mistaken for strays. Stray animals are unpredictable, even if this animal has never shown signs of aggression. In most cases when an animal gets out of hand or behaves violently it is too late, and an innocent person or child has been injured or killed. For instance, the case in Brewton a few weeks ago when a neighborhood stray was taken in by a family, violently attacked and killed one child and injured another that was playing in the yard. Is this the character that Smith wants to add to the Atmore Community?
Smith asks "How are Animal Control Officers going to control the unrestricted flow of unlicensed animals from outside of city limits into the city limits?" The same way that The Atmore Police Department works with Escambia County Sheriffs and Alabama State Troopers, through TEAM WORK! Animal Control makes every effort to work with other Animal Control Units. Even Mobile is recommending that stricter Animal Control Laws be drafted and implemented in the near future. The City of Atmore is in the process of growing, and with this growth will come changes, some changes will be welcome, others will be questioned, just as Smith has questioned the enforcement of the Animal Control Laws.
Smith makes light of a serious housing situation when he states "What is next, broadband internet and a Jacuzzi?" No internet connection or a Jacuzzi was needed when a young lady in Mobile was charged and convicted on animal cruelty. Her one-year-old lab was tied up against a non running truck, and the hood had been removed. This same hood was leaning against the truck to provide shade, which Smith would probably consider "proper housing." The area was open to wind and rain. Animal Control seized the lab and later named him Koby. He was treated for pneumonia and hypothermia, but did not survive. If Koby had a house with walls to block out wind, a roof to keep him out of the rain, and a floor to keep him off the cold ground, one of God's creatures could have survived. Smith states, "Individuals have the right to buy a dog and raise it according to their values." But what if their values don't see a problem with allowing a dog to die in the cold and wet weather? This is where Animal Control is needed to protect animal rights.
In conclusion, records are kept in all walks of life. We record the checks that we write, the amount of electricity we use, how much water we use, and how many minutes that we use on our cell phones. We carry driver's license, fishing license, hunting license and car tags, all for the purpose to keep a record. It is the goal of every Animal Control Unit to keep records of all animals for the purpose of serving the public by returning animals to their rightful owners, or to find loving homes for them that do not have owners. The purchase of the city license is a vital part of the record keeping process. Smith is fortunate, he has the capability and freedom to express his opinions. The same cannot be said for the dog that is tied to a fence or wondering lost without food or water. Animal Control Officers have the right and authority under City and State Laws to uphold Animal Rights because somewhere, someone will abuse, abandoned or neglect the animals they try to protect.
Kathryn Wheeler
Owner, K-Kennels

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox