Dothan Man Says Treated Unfairly After Charged with Animal Cruelty

By: Vanessa Araiza Email
By: Vanessa Araiza Email

A two year old dog is now in the hands of Dothan City Animal Control with two amputated toes.

Her previous owner, 46 year old Joe Nathan Cummings is charged with animal cruelty and violation of the sterilization law.

But he says he's being treated unfairly.

“I told her that we were going to try and get it taken care of. We called some people and they said that we needed to have some cash money to get the dog taken care of and we didn't have the cash money at the time,” said Cummings.

Cummings says the dog was hit by a vehicle Thursday.

His daughter called police and animal control for help.

“We told him he needed to take it to the vet,” said Sgt. Adrianne Woodruff with Dothan City Animal Shelter.

“They gave us a two day extension and we still couldn't get nothing done but she came out to get the dog and get the dog euthanized, is exactly what she told me and so I said we really don't want the dog dead and she said well we can't do nothing about it you know,” said Cummings.

“Since we got the dog we actually got a local veterinarian to supply free pet care and surgery was done to the dog, which a few toes were removed and the dog was spayed,” said Woodruff.

“All they had to do was do that from the get go and we could have kept the dog and I wouldn't have had to spend any time downtown and what she could have did was investigated on who hit the dog,” said Cummings.

“The responsibility for the injured pet falls on the pet owner, certainly the city of Dothan does not offer veterinarian services,” said Public Information Officer, Rachel David.

Cummings says he plans to fight the charges and try to get the dog back.

The dog will be available for adoption in about 3-weeks.


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  • by CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL Location: DALE COUNTY on Apr 26, 2011 at 06:55 AM
    I AGREE WITH THE REPLIES FROM ME AND LYNNE. LYNNE I KNOW THAT THESE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS, AND COPS ARE WELL TRAINE, AND SWORN TO "PROTECT AND SERVE" BUT DO NOT FORGET THAT THERE ARE SOME AOUT THERE THAT THEY ARE JUST HAVING FUN WEARING AND ABUSING THE BADGE AS WE ALL HAVE SEEN IN THE NEWS LATELY. THEY DO NOT WANT TO DO THEIR JOB PROFFESSIOANLLY, THEY JUST DO IT FOR FUN AND PERSONAL I MAY SAY INTERTAINMENT. THEY FORGET THAT THEY WERE SWORN TO DO AND ASSIST THE COMMUNITY. I STILL BELIEVE THAT THIS ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER SHOULD HAVE HANDLED THE SITUATION IN A MORE RATIONAL WAY. WHEN YOU ARE IN CHARGE OF AN INVESTIGATION IS UP TO YOU WHAT TO DO. THIS OFFICER WAS NOT COMPASIONATE TO THIS FAMILY, PERIOD! YES I AGREE WITH YOU, THIS IS A GOOD LESSON FOR CURRENT AND FUTURE PET OWNERS, SAME GOES FOR THE COPS!!!
    • reply
      by Prosarc on May 4, 2011 at 06:36 PM in reply to CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL
      Concerned Individual, I'm amazed that you own a computer. Kind of a waste of money isn't it? Why would YOU have a computer when you know everything there is to know about everything. Wait, I think I may know. You use your computer to get your 'smartness about them there cops and animal control officers out to the less smart peoples.' After a couple of hours of chasing parked cars (and acually catching some of them) you just like to unwind by spreading your vast knowledge via the internet. Or, maybe when you get done at "work" and get your books and crayons put away, you sneek out and use the program director's computer. Either way, thanks.
  • by Lynne - Animal Rescue on Apr 21, 2011 at 01:27 PM
    It’s easy to get lost in the emotions of the situation here, but what it comes down to are the facts. These Animal Control Officers are well trained and are mandated by the State of Alabama to do exactly what was done concerning this dog. I’ve worked with them before on a rescue basis and know that they perform their job well and have the utmost concern for the health and safety of the animals. The city is not budgeted to provide unlimited vet services. It is disheartening to know the numbers of dogs and cats that are injured and left alive on the side of the road for them to pick up and have to euthanize because there isn’t enough money available to treat them. The vet that volunteered treatment just happened to see the dog. There are several kind vets in the area, but most of them will not treat without some sort of payment in advance. The lesson to be learned here is do not adopt an animal that you cannot afford and teach your children not to let their pet off leash when they are outside of a protected environment.
    • reply
      by Me on Apr 21, 2011 at 11:27 PM in reply to Lynne - Animal Rescue
      I applaud all those in uniform. However, why not have some sort of program that allow unfortunate families a payment plan that ables them to keep their family's addition? Sounds fair enough to me. Accidents happen! Pedestrians get struck from time to time; unfortunately. When taken to a local hospital (although one may not have funds) euthanize isn't the first word out of the medical staffs mouth. Think about it. Really?
      • reply
        by Lois on Apr 23, 2011 at 09:40 PM in reply to Me
        In due time that is exactly what the doctor will suggest.The almighty dollar is king. Get real badly hurt, no money, they are not going to treat you for free so what can be done, euthanize them. Depending on how old you are you may see the day this is done.
  • by CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL Location: DALE COUNTY on Apr 21, 2011 at 08:11 AM
    ELLEN, IF WE HAVE A JOB OUR MORAL OBLIGATION IS TO BE VERY PROFFESSIONAL,AND IF WE WORK FOR THE PUBLIC WE HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO RESPOND AND PROVIDE THAT SERVICE IN A VERY KNOWLEDGEABLE AND PROFFESSIONAL MANNER. JUST BECAUSE THEY ARE UNDERPAID THAT DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU HAVE TO SAY "OH WELL" WOULD YOU ACCEPT THIS STATEMENT FROM A PUBLIC SERVANT? OF COURSE NOT, NO BODY WOULD. I KNOW HOW IT IS BEEN UNDERPAID, BUT I AM GLAD THAT I HAVE A JOB AND I PERSONNALLY DO MY BEST TO DO IT TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY AND PROFFESIONAL. DON'T TAKE ME WRONG, I LOVE ANIMALS SPECIALLY DOGS. ALSO I KNOW THAT ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICERS DO AN OUTSTANDING JOB KEEPING US SAFE FROM DANGEROUS LOSE PETS IN OUR STREETS. ALL I SAID WAS THAT THEY NEED TO KNOW HOW TO DEAL AND PROVIDE ANSWERS TO THE PUBLIC IN A VERY PROFFESSIONAL WAY. ALL THIS COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED IF THE ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER WAS UNDERSTANDING, COMPASIONATE, AND ACKNOWLEDGEABLE AND PROVIDING ASSISTANCE AS REQUIRED, NOT JUST TAKING A PERSON TO JAIL. WE ALL KNOW THAT IF YOU HAVE PETS, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THEM, NO QUESTION ABOUT THAT. BUT THE KEY QUESTION HERE IS "WAS HE/SHE COMPASIONATE? GOD TELL US TO BE!.
    • reply
      by Ellen on Apr 22, 2011 at 12:23 PM in reply to CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL
      I can assure you that I know the animal control officer personally, and SHE is the most compassionate person I have ever met in my life. It's must be very difficult indeed for her to seperate what she WANTS to do from what she HAS to do. Personally, I could not. I also KNOW that she puts forth a huge effort to assist the public in explaining what they need to do to care for their pets. She has gone to great lengths to beg and borrow items to help those who couldn't afford dog houses, cat beds, food and meds. The City is fortunate to have someone like her. The guy didn't ask for help...he said he wasn't going to get help. And by him coming out of the house mouth first didn't help. What would you do Concerned Individual?...let the animal suffer? It was by happenstance that a caring vet saw the dog. I seriously doubt that the animal control officer's reply was "oh well", just as I doubt the letter from "Nina" was written by a child. By the way, the dog didn't have a rabies shot either, as required by law. Fact is, he got a great dog for $15 and threw it out in the yard. He should go to jail.
  • by Elsie Location: Dothan on Apr 20, 2011 at 04:53 PM
    NO NO NO I have heard nothing be Raves for the city and their stand against animal abuse. Our Staff does an awesome, caring, wonderful job. We who love animals thank you and keep it up
  • by CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL Location: DALE COUNTY on Apr 20, 2011 at 10:17 AM
    WELL THE MATTERS IS THAT THE OWNER IS ALWAYS RESPONSIBLE. WELL TIMES ARE THOUGHT TODAY, HE SHOULD HAVE GOT HELP FROM THE CITY OR SUGGEST WHERE TO TAKE THE DOG FOR MEDICAL CARE WHEN FUNDS ARE NOT AVAILABLE. THEY ASKED FOR HELP AND NO ONE HELPED. HE ENDED IN JAIL INSTEAD. ANIMAL CONTROL NEED TO BE TRAINED BETTER TO HELP THE COMMUNITY IN CASES LIKE THIS, NOT JUST TO SAY "OH WELL IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY" WHAT A POOR STATEMENT FROM THAT IDIOT ANIMAL CONTROL COP. IN THIS POSITION YOU NEED TO KNOW ALOT HOW, WHO, WHAT, WHERE, AND WHEN. YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL FOR TRAINING ON THESE AREAS, BECAUSE THIS WILL TELL US THE PUBLIC THAT YOU DO NOT KNOW OF WHAT THE HELL YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR JOB. THE ANIMAL CONTROL COP DID IT FOR PERSONAL RECOGNITION , AND GAIN.
    • reply
      by Ellen on Apr 20, 2011 at 06:01 PM in reply to CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL
      Name-calling???? What gain could the officer possibly have made by enforcing the LAW? Oh yeah... they get to keep their underpaid jobs..chasing viscous dogs, capturing rabid racoons and listening to the public make excuses about how they couldn't afford to care for their pets. If you can't afford it, get rid of it. Like animal control is truly a glamorous position, right?? Woopee
    • reply
      by Prosarc on May 4, 2011 at 06:12 PM in reply to CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL
      The depth of your ignorance and stupidity just makes it entertaining to read your posts. It's always 'them there cops' or the 'gub ment' that is wrong. You must've grown up playing cops and robbers and embelished the idea of being a 'po-leece man' when you 'got all growed up'. Instead, you had your dream crushed because you have an IQ slighty higher than piece of driftwood. Really, let the anger go and you'll feel better. But, if you just have to make yourself feel better about your shortcomings by posting these ridiculous comments, take your own advice and go back to school. Sitting in class and dreaming 'I'ma gonna be a po-leece man when I grow up' and not devoting your attention to basic english 101 really shows. Also, it is the owner's responsibilty. It's kinda like being a parent. You understand? See, your animals, like your kids, depend on YOU. It's not the city's responsibility to take care of your animals nor raise your children. (I used 'children' just as an example. I certainly hope the stupidity ended with you, CONCERNED INDIVIDUAL.
  • by observer on Apr 18, 2011 at 06:05 PM
    sue you need to get a life
  • by sue Location: dothan on Apr 18, 2011 at 04:42 AM
    I think it sad that people can just go out to the shelter and pay a fee to get a dog without being checked out. there should be some way to see if these people are really able to take care of these pets. As for him being put in jail for this someone should have tried to help him because it seems they loved their dog. Here this man fell on hard times but the woman that had all the animals "named Pam" got off with a slap on the hand.Seems like a fair deal doesn"t it. Makes you wonder
    • reply
      by observer on Apr 18, 2011 at 06:04 PM in reply to sue
      sue-if you had any brains you would be dangerous
  • by Jerald Location: Dothan on Apr 16, 2011 at 01:11 PM
    "me", so you support the idea of not giving critical care to an injured pet simply because one says they cannot afford to? I think you better go back and read what I actually wrote and the context in which the words are used.
    • reply
      by Me on Apr 20, 2011 at 10:54 PM in reply to Jerald
      No. Not saying I support the idea of on not caring for an injured animal. Simply saying, they could have indeed afford to care for the dog; feed, bathe, get shots for, walk etc... However, they probably could not afford emergency care. It is VERY expensive to some. It may NOT be to you. I've witnessed a family contacting all available resources (in Houston County) when their pet was dying of food poisoning. Kids screaming & parents @ their whits end b/c they were turned down by the City & County for ANY assistance. Then, local Vet's required a mandatory $200.00 up front fee before any treatments. No $ = no pet! Plain & simple. So, I don't believe FS, AFDC or any public assistance ( for humans) has NOTHING to do with this situation. Don't be so quick to judge someone just b/c they're unfortunate. Better yet, their needs to be some type of program set for this type of situation opposed to serving time in jail but hea, I'm a thinker. Hope I've clarified enough for you Jerald. -Me.
  • by Jennifer Location: Headland on Apr 16, 2011 at 12:05 PM
    Yes it was his job to provide for the dog if he is the owner. With that being said there needs to be programs to help people with injured animals.. He was not responsible for the injury. Times are hard and we should not to judge... There are programs for everything else.. What kind of world is this we are raising our kids in. His daughter called the police for help and her dad goes to jail and they instead of helping her take her dog .. This is a harsh punishment for a child when they called for help don't ya think.... Very sad.. I would have gladly helped this family.. I hope all goes well...
  • by JJ Location: DOTHAN on Apr 16, 2011 at 11:45 AM
    The City or Animal Shelter is partial blame for letting the man have the dog to start with if he is that broke, it wouldn't suprise anyone to find out that you can be on welfare and food stamps can't take care of your self yet you can adopt a dog. You dang skippy the City is at fault as much as anyone. So now this guy who couldn't pay for the dog goes to jail now has to pay a fine he becomes part of the revolving door brigade at the court house you should go to the court house and watch its quite commical and since its funded by the tax payers the admission is free
    • reply
      by Ellen on Apr 16, 2011 at 08:17 PM in reply to JJ
      He's 46 YEARS OLD!! He ought to know whether or not he can afford a pet! Every time someone goes to jail, they look for someone else to blame. Give me a break!
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