By Jonathan Hardison
CALERA, AL (WBRC) - The city of Calera may be just weeks away from being the first city in Shelby County, other than Hoover, to have a full-time animal control officer on the streets.
Calera says it has had a problem with loose dogs and animals for years. Lately, city officials say the pitbulls have gotten a lot of attention.
The city of Calera's police chief says he has the solution. A truck is already outfitted, ready to go and, if he gets the funding, in a matter of weeks or months, this could be the home of the area's first animal control officer.
"When we do this, we're gonna be leading the charge, and I envision it to be extremely effective because you're going to be able to address these issues immediately," said Sean Lemley, Calera's police chief.
Calera has some animal control laws on the books already, but enforcing them often slips through the cracks because police have to personally witness any violations, and if a loose animal is caught, they're taken to the humane society and the owners often never face a court date. But Lemley says a new animal control officer will streamline the process and force changes.
"This will be a way to proactively clean up the city. Because once this starts to happen, we're gonna reduce the number of animals at large because word's gonna get out that if you just open up your door and let your dog run out a half our later, you're gonna wind up going to court or having to pay a fine."
"I think having a police officer, a man in uniform will help us get the message across to the citizens of Calera that animals are not to run at large in the city," said Calera mayor Jon Graham.
A Calera officer is already certified for animal control and may switch over to the new job as early as October, when the new budget kicks in and may allow the city to hire a replacement.
The new animal control officer will also be responsible for code enforcement.
Copyright 2010 WBRC. All rights reserved.