Pitbull attacks neighbor’s pets, owner arrested
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A new warning to pet owners after investigators arrested a Jefferson County man for letting his dog run loose.
41-year-old Benjamin Weeks of Forestdale found himself behind bars, charged with permitting dogs to run at large, a misdemeanor offense.
§ 3-5-3. Liability of owner for damages done by livestock or animals running at large; judgment lien upon animal or livestock causing damage.
(a) The owner of such livestock or animal being or running at large upon the premises of another or upon t he public lands, roads, highways or streets in the State of Alabama shall be liable for all damages done to crops, shade or fruit trees or ornamental shrubs and flowers of any person, to be recovered before any court of competent jurisdiction; provided, that the owner of any stock or animal shall not be liable for any damages to any motor vehicle or any occupant thereof suffered, caused by or resulting from a collision with such stock or other animal, unless it be proven that such owner knowingly or wilfully put or placed such stock upon such public highway, road or street where such damages were occasioned.
(b) The judgment of the court against the owner of such livestock or animal so depredating shall be a lien superior to all other liens on the livestock or animal causing the damage, except as to taxes.
According to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office records, it happened in June 2019 but Weeks was arrested Thursday. Investigators report the brown tiger striped dog ran from its home on Hallmark Road to a neighbor’s house where the neighbor says it attacked their two Pomeranians while Weeks stood nearby.
The neighbor told police Weeks jumped on top of the dogs when the neighbors threatened to shoot it.
Police say Weeks admitted to allowing his dog to run free.
Allison Black-Cornelious, head of the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, warned pet owners the charges can be more serious.
“If it bites another human, Emily’s Law is now in place in Alabama and it can cost you a whole lot of money and some very serious repercussions for the rest of your life owning this pet,” said Black-Cornelious.
Governor Kay Ivey signed Emily’s Law in 2018 which could mean prison time for owners of dogs that seriously hurt or kill a person.
The breed of the dog does not absolve the owner from liability.
“When I heard that it was a pitbull or pitbull mix, that always concerns us because it contributes to the stereotype that these particular animals are always involved in these particular cases more so than others and that’s not true. We have other animals that can run at large that are other breeds, Chihuahuas, Pomeranians, Labradors that can harm other people’s pets or harm people,” said Black-Cornelious. “It doesn’t matter what breed of dog you’ve got you need to humanely contain your dog so that your dog can not hurt other people, children, or pets.”
She says help is available to pet owners.
“If you are struggling with how to humanely contain your pet, call us and let us come out and help you. We have resources and we can help you find humane ways to contain your animal. We don’t want you to tie it up or chain it up because that could make the problem worse,” suggested Black-Cornelious.
WBRC did attempt to get an update on the condition of the Pomeranians, but we have not heard back from their owner.
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