Luverne residents lose pets to roaming dogs

Published 7:59 pm Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The city of Luverne may be known as the “Friendliest City in the South,” but try telling that to the dogs running loose around town.

Jacqueline Miller, 72, of West Virginia, has been visiting her sister, Yvonne Adkinson, since September. When she first arrived, she continued her daily health ritual of walking in the neighborhood where her sister lives, on East Third Street—that is, until she was chased by dogs running loose.

“In West Virginia, I walk all the time in our park,” Miller said. “There, people must have their pets on a leash, and they pay a $10 license fee for the tag—if their animal is picked up, the animal control officers will look on the tag and find the pet owner’s name and number. They’re then called and given a warning the first time—afterwards, they must pay a fine for allowing their pet to run loose.”

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She said the parks in her town even have plastic bags placed outside for pet owners to clean behind their pets.

“My sister walked with me when I first got here, but she doesn’t now,” Miller said. “Sometimes, we would take Dora, our Chihuahua, on a leash, but those dogs would come after her, so we quit taking her with us.”

Her sister Yvonne agreed.

“Just the other day, a big dog was in my back yard and was about to jump on my dog,” she said. “It’s dangerous for my dog and for me.”

Kathy Dowdy, owner of the Camellia House Bed and Breakfast in Luverne, came home to make the grisly discovery that one of her cats had been killed by a pack of dogs.

“I pulled into my yard, and I saw three dogs run off,” she said. “And there was my cat, dying on the back step—they had broken its neck.”

Dowdy said two other neighbors have also had their pet cats killed by roaming dogs.

“Those dogs will even run up the ramp onto our porch chasing my cats.”

State law requires that every county have an animal shelter; however, Crenshaw County does not have one.

“We don’t have a leash law in Luverne, but if someone has a vicious dog, they’re supposed to keep it penned up,” Luverne Mayor Joe Rex Sport said.

“It’s the county’s responsibility to have a pound or a humane shelter, but we don’t have one. It’s so expensive to maintain one in a small county like ours.”

Jacqueline Miller praised the humane society in her hometown.

“The humane society is very active there,” she said. “All you have to do is call them and

they’ll come pick up stray animals.”

“When I get back to Parkersburg, I won’t have to worry about this problem

anymore,” she said. “And that’s too bad for the city of Luverne that they can’t say the same

thing because this is such a nice little town.”

“I would like to ask your elected officials why dogs and cats are running loose—I don’t understand it,” she said.