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Authorities Stand by Passively as Barking Victim's Quality of Life is Body-Slammed in Shelby County, Alabama
Shelby County Reporter - Shelby County, Alabama - Written by Patrick Crotty - October 12, 2004
Bill Floyd thought he was moving to Eden when he bought a secluded home on Shack Branch Slew near the community of Shelby. Floyd has a nice view of the water, about two-thirds of a mile off of Wuxahatchee Creek. Floyd learned to fish and kept a close watch on the hummingbirds and squirrels that enjoy the woods surrounding his waterfront home.
With his nearest neighbor about 200 feet from his home, Floyd rarely heard a peep for three years. Then, property owners placed a trailer next door and they got into the dog-breeding business. Floyd said the dogs' barking costs him sleep.
Floyd was used to waking up before sunrise and fishing with his three-legged dog, Girl. Now, he said just when he prepares to wet his line, the dogs begin barking. Floyd said he doubts he'd be able to sell the house with the dogs nearby.
"If you bought it, about the next day you'd want your money back," he said.
About three-and-a-half years ago, Floyd left his home in Pelham and found his secluded waterfront spot. He thought it was his own Eden.
"The first trip out here it seemed like the end of the world," he said.
Instead of feeding chickens, Floyd tosses handfuls of dog food into the water just a few yards from his back porch. Bream peck the surface and the food disappears.
"It's alive with bream," Floyd said from his boat dock.
When the dogs appeared next door about six months ago, Floyd said his paradise changed. He can't read his newspaper peacefully anymore. He lost sleep. He asked the neighbors several times to keep the dogs quiet, but the barking continued.
Finally, Floyd contacted the sheriff's office. He learned that the county's animal control laws do not prohibit barking. Neither does the county's noise ordinance.
On Monday afternoon, Floyd talked about fishing while a group of dogs howled and barked in the distance.
"If they were playing their radio too loud then I could do something, but I can't do anything about this," he said.
It's a problem familiar to Shelby County's animal control officer, Donald Kendrick. He said dog breeders, especially pit bull breeders, are common in the county. Kendrick said he can only do something if the dogs are neglected or mistreated or if they do not have rabies shots. Neither applies to Floyd's neighbors.
Kendrick investigates pit bull breeders, checking to make sure they are not staging dog fights.
"If I find out somebody's breeding pit bulls, I'm going out there," Kendrick said.
If Kendrick found out the pit bulls were sold for fighting, then he could do something. In Montevallo, one pit pull breeder has more than 20 dogs chained up, Kendrick said. The dogs are located in an area once popular for dog fighting.
"These people are part of the problem. They don't know what happens after they sell them," he said. "It's a mess. It's a culture, and it's a terrible one. There are ways for people to make money off of these dogs.
"As far as the animal business, it's the worst of the worst," he said.
Now, the county commission is considering adopting a resolution regarding kennels.
"We have got to have something on the books," said Billy Thompson, Shelby County Commissioner. "We need to define a kennel."
Written by Craig
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