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Pounding The Streets

Back on the streets.

    The post has been vacant for months, but Brookhaven now has ananimal control officer again.

    Well, two officers actually: Roxanne Norton and Andy Leggett.

    Police Chief Pap Henderson is confident in his choices and thoseofficers are confident in each other.

    “I think we’ll make a great team,” Leggett said.

    Though approved by the city board in August, Thursday was the firstday of patrol for the two officers. Before that they had beenworking to get the city pound in usable shape again and trainingwith Henderson.

    The previous animal control officer was terminated in May and thepound has been in disuse since.

    Fences had to be repaired, the kennels cleaned and the grass mowedaround it. Norton said the pound has come a long way since theybegan work.

    Henderson agreed.

    “I think the pound is going to be something the city can be proudof,” he said.

    The pound has 16 kennels. Norton said multiple dogs could be putinto one kennel if they were gentle, but expansion could soon benecessary. On their first morning of patrol, Norton and Leggettpicked up five dogs.

    Henderson said that with two officers, their duties can be splitup. Leggett will patrol the city and pick up animals. Norton willdo that when she is available, but will primarily manage the pound.She will clean and maintain the pound and be there when people cometo pick up animals.

    Leggett emphasized that neither he nor Norton will have anydifficulty fulfilling their duties.

    “Neither of us are scared of any animal,” he said.

    Both have a record with animals that backs up Leggett’sstatement.

    For Norton, after working with tigers, stray dogs are not thatthreatening.

    “That was one fun job, but a dangerous job,” Norton said of thetime she spent working at the Birmingham Zoo.

    Her time there included working with tigers and with thelizards.

    That’s one line on an impressive resume. In addition to the zoo,Norton, originally from the Birmingham area, has been trained indog control and handling. For the last three years she has workedwith the Brookhaven Animal Rescue League domesticating feral dogsso that they can be adopted.

    Norton has been working with animals since she was young, thanks toher father.

    “At five, I was training hunting dogs,” she said.

    Leggett’s background with animals also goes back to his father.

    “He took in pit bulls that had been fought out,” Leggett said,explaining that he helped his father, who rehabilitated theanimals.

    Henderson wants all city residents to be aware of laws concerninganimals.

    According to a city ordinance all dogs must be on a leash or behinda fence. The ordinance also says city residents can only have fourdogs.

    Henderson said to pick up an animal held at the pound everyone mustfirst call the police station and make an appointment to meetNorton there. Anyone found at the pound without an appointment willbe charged with trespassing, Henderson said.

    Fees to pick up or adopt dogs have been increased at Henderson’srequest, from $10 to $30.

    “If you’re letting your dog run loose we need to get yourattention,” Henderson said. “$10 was not getting anyone’sattention.”