“I love animals,” Mayor Joe Funderburg told the City Council during Thursday’s work session.
However, the mayor said a city facility is no place for animals, with the exception of service animals and, of course, Rue, a Labradoodle mix dog the city’s public library uses to encourage children to read aloud.
Funderburg said signs were placed on the front door of City Hall, but people have ignored the “no pet” signs and have brought dogs into the building.
Funderburg said despite the signs, he saw three different people who brought their dogs, large and small, into City Hall. He said one person brought a bulldog into the facility and another carried an animal on their shoulder. Pell City residents pay water bills and court fines at offices near the front entrance to City Hall.
Parks and Recreation director Harold “Bubba” Edge said the city already has a ban on animals inside the Pell City Sports Complex, where youth sports are played.
He said the public is allowed to bring animals into Pell City’s Lakeside Park, as long as those animals are on a leash.
Funderburg asked if the council would consider allowing the city attorney to draft an ordinance forbidding anyone from bringing animals inside city facilities. The ordinance would impose a $25 fine for anyone found in violation.
Funderburg’s suggestion met some opposition.
“Don’t waste our money,” Councilwoman Dot Wood said about paying the city attorney to draft the proposed city ordinance. “Those (dogs) are their babies.”
Some council members suggested putting up signs, but Funderburg said signs are already in place at City Hall.
“The signs don’t seem to make much difference,” he said. “It (dogs) can be disruptive to city business.”
Funderburg said someone could be bitten by a dog or the animal could have an accident, leaving the city to clean up the mess.
“We’re fixing to get into the hot summer months,” said Councilman Terry Templin. “I’d rather them be inside City Hall than sitting in a hot car.”
Councilman Jay Jenkins said he agreed with both sides of the issue.
“I do understand what Joe is saying,” he said.
Council members said for now the receptionist at the front of City Hall can tell people who bring in their pets that animals are not allowed inside the building.
Contact David Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org