Animal activist calls for leash law in Houston County

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HOUSTON COUNTY, Ala. (WTVY) — A self-proclaimed animal activist addressed the Houston County commission this morning, as a number of commissioners met for their administration meeting. Clarence Smith is calling for a leash law, but it may be easier said than done.

"We need some kind of control. Whether it's a leash law, they say that it cost millions of dollars to enforce the leash law", said Smith.

Less than a month ago, Clarence Smith's dachshund “Pooky” was killed. His dachshund was attacked and killed on May 9th near his home on hillside park drive off Third Avenue in Houston county. On Thursday, Smith addressed members of the Houston county commission in the hope some type of leash law can be put on the books.

"There is a law out there, county modernization law, we passed several years ago that gives the ability to implement ordinances, if you will, for counties", said Houston County Commission Chairman Mark Culver.

The ordinance allows either the commission and its various commission members or a citizen of Houston County to take the initiative to get something passed. But Houston county commission chairman Mark Culver says a leash law for the entire county may be too expensive to enforce. The problem arises when you get to the unincorporated areas outside of city limits.

"It would be very costly to implement a leash law. We think it's probably not a law that's enforceable", said Culver.

According to Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza, typically a municipality has its own ordinances, which are enforced by the local police department. He said a municipality may adopt a law and another municipality next to it may adopt the same law. It’s up to the individual police departments to enforce those ordinances.

"A leash law, discharging a firearm within the city limits noise ordinance. We don't we go by state law", said Valenza.

In cases like the one with smith, the law is just too broad. However, he says it's within your rights to defend yourself and property.

"anytime they come out or you have a threat on your property of a vicious animal you have a right to defend yourself, whatever means"

Valenza says in cases like this, civil court may be the best option.

Both Valenza and Smith agree, it would be simple if more people were responsible pet owners.

"I'm wanting to see people with dogs be responsible animal owners and not let them run wild", said Smith.

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