Dadeville residents have been complaining for years about dogs running at large disturbing walks, threatening those walking by baring teeth, barking and more.
City officials have not passed a leash ordinance because doing so would force the town to hire an animal control officer and house seized animals, something the City of Dadeville does not have the funds for. Without a leash ordinance, the Dadeville Police Department has found itself handcuffed in some ways but according to Dadeville Police Department Capt. Chris Martin, the department is trying to make sure animals are cared for.
“We have been writing municipal citations for failure to vaccinate,” Martin said. “It is an arrestable offense but we have chosen to do this way and bond them out as we write the citation. It is similar to a traffic ticket but if they are found guilty it goes on their criminal record.”
Martin said the Dadeville Police Department recently had issued nine citations for failure to vaccinate animals against rabies and the five animal owners were recently in court.
“Owners of animals in all nine of the citations were either found guilty or pleaded guilty to not vaccinating their animals,” Martin said.
One animal owner was cited for four violations and Martin said more citations could have been issued.
“She came up and said she still had not gotten her animals vaccinated,” Martin said. “The judge asked if she had vaccinated the other animals not cited and she said no.”
Martin said failure to vaccinate a dog, cat or ferret is a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $500. In the nine citations tried this week in Dadeville Municipal Court, a fine of $100 each was issued but with court costs the total to be paid by the five defendants for the nine citations is more than $2,900.
Martin said he took an average price of rabies vaccination at area vet clinics and figured it would have cost about $200 to vaccinate the nine animals owners were cited for.
Just last month, Dr. John Caldwell of Dadeville Animal Care Center participated in a state program to vaccinate animals for $12 each. Caldwell is also the rabies officer for Tallapoosa County.
“By law dogs, cats and ferrets have to be vaccinated every year after they are three months of age,” Caldwell said. “There are some three-year vaccinations and those meet the requirement too.”
Caldwell said he has seen rabid horses and cattle as well.
“It is carried by fox, raccoons and bats to name a few,” Caldwell said. “I would recommend regular vaccinations.”
Martin said the Dadeville Police Department is trying to encourage pet owners to take care of their animals.
“All we are trying to do is get people to get animals vaccinated, put a collar with the correct rabies tag and take care of their animal,” Martin said. “Encouraging pet owners to do the right thing hopefully will take care of a good portion of the issues many citizens have been complaining about animals running at large.”