County Commission

Wind Creek Farms resident Melvin Garrett speaks to the Tallapoosa County Commission at its Monday meeting about an issue with dogs in the subdivision attacking children and other animals.

Dogs have allegedly attacked and killed livestock and other dogs in the Wind Creek Farms subdivision and residents want the Tallapoosa County Commission to do something about it.

“The whole neighborhood is festered with bulldogs,” Wind Creek Farms resident Melvin Garrett told commissioners at Monday’s meeting. “These dogs are blood thirsty. I lost a sentimental horse. I raised the horse for my grandkids.”

Garrett said he shot and killed one dog and injured another that broke into the pen to kill the horse.

“I shot dead a dog in my fence as it was eating on the face of my horse after they killed it,” Garrett said.

The dogs have also killed chickens Garrett was raising with his grandchildren on two different occasions.

“Once they killed them, my kids went into the house, buried themselves in bed and cried their hearts out,” Garrett said.

Garrett said the dogs have gone beyond attacking livestock.

“I was walking with my grandchild,” Garrett said. “It was fixing to attack my grandbaby. I shot that dog dead.”

Garrett said the near attack on his grandchild now prevents his family from enjoying activities such as riding a four-wheeler in the yard.

“My oldest daughter will not let my grandkids come back,” Garrett said. “They fear these dogs. We can’t let the kids outside.”

Garrett was joined by fellow Wind Creek Farms residents Michael Hughes, Harvey Baker and Jack Wisenhunt who all shared similar stories of pit bulls, Bullmastiffs and a Great Pyrenees that are packing together to terrorize the neighborhood.

“We have people in our community who have as many as 10,” Baker said. “They have been running loose and have started to kill animals.”

The Wind Creek Farms subdivision is in Tallapoosa County and in the police jurisdiction of Alexander City but the leash laws of Alexander City stop at the city limits. Baker said law enforcement both from the Alexander City Police Department and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department helped the concerned residents by filing reports and even getting one dog owner to relinquish several dogs to Alexander City animal control. But the residents understand law enforcement is handcuffed on the issue.

Wisenhunt said he has fired a weapon to scare a dog while walking in the neighborhood but did not shoot or kill it. He is medically required to exercise because of multiple surgeries but bought an elliptical machine to exercise indoors as he’s afraid to walk in his neighborhood.

Baker said he has been at work on his property and confronted by the vicious dogs.

“I look up and I’m being challenged in my own shop,” Baker said. “I leave the doors open when I work because of the dust.”

Garrett said he goes to circuit court Wednesday to try to collect damages through a civil lawsuit.

The group asked the commission to adopt a Alabama state leash law. The law has been discussed before by the Dadeville City Council which decided against it because it would require something along the lines of an animal control department being created and the city didn’t have the funds for it.

Baker said the commission has the ability to do something.

“Alabama has a relevant dog law but it has to be adopted by the commission,” Baker said to the commissioners. “Something has got to be done. The problem has gotten out of hand. Get off your duff and do something.”

Commission chair Steve Robinson said the commission will take the information and attempt to come up with a solution.

“We plan to take action,” Robinson said to the residents. “We will let you know what we do.”

Also at the meeting, county administrator Blake Beck recognized bookkeeper Vicki Wilcox who is retiring from the county commission office.

“She has been my bookkeeper for 20 years,” Beck said. “Seven years in Lee County and I talked her into retiring there to work part time for me here. She took a 29-year-old and taught me. I don’t know if I can do this by myself.”

The commissioners joked with Wilcox and Beck.

“What (Beck is) saying is we should have been paying (Wilcox) and not (Beck),” commissioner John McKelvey joked.

Robinson said, “Thank you for training Blake. We wish you well in real retirement.”

The commission voted to allow Tallapoosa County sheriff Jimmy Abbett to send out requests for proposals for an inmate phone system. Abbett said the system comes up every three years and the current contract expires in July.

The commission also voted to extend the Alabama County Commission Association liability self-insurance fund agreement for three years.

“We should get a decent refund of funds already paid,” Beck said.

In other action the Tallapoosa County Commission:

• Approved a resolution in opposition of Alabama House Bill 39 and Alabama Senate Bill 47. The bills created a statewide gun permit registry.

• Approved a memorandum of agreement to allow an exchange of federal and state funds at the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT)

• Approved purchase orders and warrants

• Approved a resolution to allow the chairperson to execute documents for a grant project for the Walnut Hill Water Authority

• Approved indigent burials

• Approved a Class 1lounge retail liquor license

The next meeting of the Tallapoosa County Commission is at 9 a.m. Monday, April 13.

Cliff Williams is a staff writer for Tallapoosa Publishers.