Helena City Council backs off from banning pets from events

HELENA, AL (WBRC) - Helena's City Council backed off a plan to ban pets from big city events after an outcry from dog lovers Monday night.

Man's best friend is welcome anytime at Helena's amphitheater, as long as he's on a leash. But City Councilwoman Cris Nelson was hoping to change that because she says at big events like Buckcreek, the 4th of July celebration, even farmers markets, pets are becoming safety hazards.

"They're not going to have their space," Nelson said. "They're going to get stepped on, a child could go 'oh, pretty dog' and yank its tail or something, and it's going to happen, or run into another dog. We've seen a near-altercation from that."

"I've never heard of any issues of rampant K-9's running wild, so I'm not really sure what the impetus is," said dog lover and Last Chance Dog Rescue staffer Sandy Kibler.

Dog lovers like Kibler put up enough of a fight that Monday night that Nelson asked to withdraw her proposed changes and go back to the drawing board to try and find a compromise that will work for her and pet owners.

"I like people giving us feedback," Nelson said. "Normally we'll pass something then hear about it afterwards. I like this so we don't make a mistake."

"Helena has good leash laws already," said Kibler. "And if citizens just adhere to those leash laws there's no reason pet lovers and people who don't love pets can't be happy and enjoy festivities in Helena as they are currently."