Amid multiple incidents of dog attacks, Lauderdale County requests animal control authority


Lauderdale County is currently without an animal control officer. Currently, the Sheriff’s Office responds to all animal control issues with deputies on patrol. But Cheryl Jones of Florence-Lauderdale Animal Services says the solution favors those within the city limits.

“We currently share the shelter, but it’s not a fair split,” she says. “In other words, the city is funding nine-tenths of the budget with the county commission, spending only $100,000 of the million dollar budget we have at the shelter.”

Lauderdale County offered a solution that would have allowed the shelter to regain control of animals in the county, but the proposal was rejected by the city.

Jones says it’s about being proactive to prevent incidents like the recent dog attacks in Lawrence and Franklin counties that left a child in hospital and the deaths of two women.

“When you watch the dog attack in Lawrence County, and you watch the two women who were ultimately killed in Red Bay in a dog attack, having a presence there with animal control, speak to the public, educate the public, choose animals that have been abandoned,” she continued. “And managing animals on the loose and making owners understand that you have to keep your animal confined.”

Tanya Emery was arrested Wednesday afternoon for failing to confine her dogs. Deputies say his dogs attacked nine-year-old Gavin Peoples, who was riding his bike this weekend on County Road 285.

Gavin’s mother, Stephanie Overton, says the arrest is justice for her son who is now battling to recover in hospital.

“I was happy,” she said. “Because a lot has been said and we just want justice for our son and we just want someone to realize that they have to be responsible for what happened.”