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“You have the right to protect yourself, by any means necessary!”

That was the statement made by Police Chief, Kevin Smith, at the May 15th meeting/worksession of the Rainsville City Council a large crowd gathered to listen in as citizens addressed concerns about responsible pet ownership and the April 27th attack of Gary Haymon.

Haymon was given the opportunity to give the harrowing details of the attack as well as the events before and after it.  “April 27th is a date that might have been on my tombstone at Straight Creek,” he began.  “People don’t realize the trauma that you go through after something like that.  I have nightmares ever night about being attacked by dogs.  I dream about people trying to kill me using dogs.  On the outside I’m healing pretty good, but there are some wounds that are going to take a long time to heal.”

After being quarantined for the ten days that is required by state law, the dog was released back to its owner and again roams freely in the same neighborhood of the attack.  “I know for a fact that the dog has been back to the house where I was attacked,” Haymon continued.  “It’s been right on the front porch and it’s running all over the neighborhood again.  People who live in the neighborhood are terrified to go outside of their homes.”

Haymon went on to tell of the statistic where 4.5 million people in this country are attacked each year and that in 2016 a total of 31 people died from those attacks; 13 children and 18 adults.  “I don’t think we need to wait until someone dies here in Rainsville due to a dog attack,” Haymon said.  “I’m afraid that if something isn’t done the next attack might go beyond just wounds.  I beg you for something to be done before it’s too late.”

Another citizen, Tommy Williams, also addressed the council with concerns about some Wolf Hybrids that are owned by his neighbor.  “Brother Haymon was the voice of those who have been attacked, but I guess I’m the voice for those who hope not to be attacked,” he said.  Williams gave specific facts about the Wolf Hybrid breed of dogs and read information concerning the expectation of the specific breed being unpredictable in their behavior around people, especially children in an urban setting.  “This particular breed of dog is considered a wild animal by state statutes,” he said.  Williams reported of numerous incidents where the breed of dog had attacked and even killed the children of their owners.  “Had it been a man that had attacked Brother Haymon the odds are he’d still be in jail, but ten days later this dog was released back to his owner.  Something’s not right about that.”

Mayor Rodger Lingerfelt stated, “We appreciate you bringing this to us and talking about it.  Since this happen we’ve been working with our attorney trying to make our ordinance better so we can take care of things like these dogs.”

The city’s attorney read specific wording of the proposed revisions to the ordinance at length and the revisions were adopted by unanimous vote in the meeting section of the evening’s events, giving it the number 5-15-2017B

In other business:

The council passed ordinance 5-15-2017A; a rezoning ordinance for a property on Highway 75 South changing it from commercial property to high density residential property.

Council empowered the mayor to sign ADECA grant for Ranch Road.

Council approved the hire of a 30-hour worker at the library.

Council approved the motion to change Phillip Gibson to Mowing Supervisor.

The next meeting will be held on June 5th.