People living near Mulkey Elementary School struggle with dog problem

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GENEVA, Ala. (WTVY) - What started out as dogs wandering the streets, has become a real problem for families living near Mulkey Elementary School in Geneva.

Parents are getting more and more afraid to let their children walk to school or even play outside.

"Dogs are animals; they have feelings,” said Mandy Parish, who lives near Mulkey Elementary. “They're in an unknown environment around unknown people. You don't know what they're going to do in unknown surroundings."

Mandy Parish enjoys walking with her daughter Bella to and from Mulkey Elementary School, but over the past year, it's become a task neither she nor Bella look forward to.

"I always bring a pipe with me, and then I bring pepper spray,” said Parish. “I actually don't walk her in the morning anymore because that's when the majority of the dogs are out."

Parish says she's seen dogs chase kids on bikes and attack people on scooters.

She posted about some of the dogs on Facebook, which is when the Geneva Police Department got involved.

"My animal control officer saw it. He took action on it,” said Geneva Police Chief Tony Clemmons. “We've actually got one of the animals in the pound as we speak. The other animal had gotten out of a cage from my understanding."

Parish was happy to hear Geneva Police handled those dogs, but that wasn't the end of the problem.

She had an encounter with yet another dog Saturday night.

"The dog comes up my driveway, and I'm pinned up against my Jeep to try to stay away from it,” said Parish.

Geneva has a vicious dog ordinance, meaning police are only permitted to get involved if a dog "shall bite or fiercely attack" a person or another animal.

Parish isn't sure that's enough.

"I think a leash law would be a really good start,” said Parish. “Maybe, find the owners that think the whole entire city is their front yard."

She thinks a leash law would help the city prevent situations rather than respond after it's happened.

Chief Clemmons says he sends someone out every time he gets a call, especially when it's close to a school, but doesn't think his staff of one would be able to handle a leash law.

"We have not the facilities to pick up every dog walking at large out here,” said Clemmons. “If we did that, I'd pretty much have to double or triple my staff and pretty much double the size of the building we've got."

Unless the city is willing to make an investment of that size, Parish is going to keep her pipe handy.

Chief Clemmons says he gets 4 to 5 calls a day about "vicious dogs".

The police department holds onto the dogs that taken in for two weeks, waiting for someone to claim them.

After that, they do their best to adopt them out and hope it doesn't come to putting them down.

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