Revised ordinance gives Trussville officers more discretion when animal found in car

Changes to Trussville animal ordinance

TRUSSVILLE, AL (WBRC) - Tammy Miller has a new road dog - literally. “He’s loveable, he’s precious, he’s sweet. I take him everywhere I go,” she says of her adorable 19-month old Corgi named Taz.

But one thing Miller can’t fathom doing is leaving Taz or any other animal in a sweltering vehicle. “You leave him in a car that’s a hundred degrees, a hundred and ten degrees in the summertime - horrendous. And the same thing is true in the winter. It’s horrible and it’s inhumane,” Miller says.

In July, Trussville Police charged Stephanie Thomas with aggravated cruelty to animals, which is a felony, saying she left her dog in a hot car for eight hours in the parking lot of Walmart.

The dog later died.

The situation prompted the Trussville City Council to amend their animal ordinances.

The biggest change is allowing officers to decide how far they should go to save a dog in a similar situation.

“Back then, the officer would call a supervisor, get permission, then break the window,” explains Trussville City Councilman Alan Taylor.

“This give the officer, who has years of experience, the discretion to say ‘if I see a dog in distress, I can break the window, I can make that decision on my own’,” he says.

It’s a measure Tammy Miller appreciates. “I think it’s great they’ve stepped in on animals' behalf because who is going to speak for them? They can’t speak for themselves. And the fact that someone cares enough to do that is wonderful,” Miller says.

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