Animal Control and the prevention of rabies in the City of Vestavia Hills, Alabama, and within the police jurisdiction thereof, is governed by Chapter Four of the Vestavia Hills Code of Ordinances. The City’s Code of Ordinances are published in a searchable database on the Municode website City’s Code of Ordinances. On August 24, 2009, The City Council adopted Ordinance 2265 to amend Chapter Four of the Vestavia Hills Code of Ordinances. View the New Ordinances for details.
Following is a summary of the key provisions of the City of Vestavia Hills animal control measures:
- Annual rabies vaccination and proper documentation of same is required (collar and rabies tag).
- It is unlawful to keep vicious dogs unless certain requirements are met. Under State Code, owners are liable for personal injury caused by a vicious animal.
- It is unlawful to keep noisy dogs that are a public nuisance to ordinary persons in a neighborhood.
- Animals are not allowed to run at large – they must be on a leash when not confined to the owner’s property.
- Impoundment of animals found to run at large within the City or its police jurisdiction is authorized by the City.
- The City’s Animal Control Officer is responsible for enforcing the Animal Control Ordinance. He/she has the authority to impound animals in violation of this ordinance and may under certain circumstances issue a citation to owners in lieu of impoundment of their animal. The fine must be paid to the City Revenue Department before the Animal Control Officer can release the animal. It is unlawful to interfere with the duties of the Animal Control Officer or his/her assistant.
- After hours, and on holidays and weekends, when the Animal Control Officer is not on duty, the Vestavia Hills Police Department will impound animals running at large if it is deemed safe both for the police officer and the dog.
- When an animal is impounded, every reasonable effort will be made to notify the owner, and to inform the owner of the conditions under which he/she may regain custody of the animal. A detailed report will be made by the authority impounding the animal and a copy of this report will be on file at the Police Department (1032 Montgomery Highway; Vestavia Hills, AL 35216). These reports will be kept on file by the Police Department for three years.
- After the legal detention period of 5 calendar days has expired and the impounded animal has not been claimed by the owner, the City, through its animal control officer or its duly authorized agent of the rabies control center, shall serve public notice not less than an ADDITIONAL five (5) calendar days that said unclaimed dog or puppy is subject to destruction, sale or disposal. A proper notice as to the disposition of the impounded animal will be on file at the Police Department not less than 5 days before an action is taken. If the owner is known, a copy of this notice will also be sent to the owner at least 4 days (not including Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) before the impounded dog is sold/adopted or undergo euthanasia.
- If you have questions about the City’s Animal Control Program, contact the Vestavia Hills Police Department’s general information line at 205.978.0113. This line is monitored Monday through Friday from 8am to 4pm.
- To report an at large animal or a vicious or noisy* dog, contact the Vestavia Hills Police Department dispatch at 205.978.0140.
*Ordinance 2098 encourages neighbor-to-neighbor interaction as a first solution, and should those efforts fail, Ordinance 2098 outlines specific steps to move toward a mediated resolution of a noisy dog problem.
The City is always interested in helping its residents manage their community concerns. As such, coyotes periodically emerge in our residential subdivisions. Following are a few simple things you can do to make Vestavia Hills less habitable for these and other such creatures:
- Understand your rights and responsibilities as a private property owner if you choose to have someone hunt or trap on your land.
- Keep your own pets in at night, don’t leave food out, and have your pets on a leash when you go out.
- If you encounter a coyote, do not run.
- If a coyote displays no fear of people, he’s probably been fed. You can reinstill his fear by raising your arms and yelling to drive him away.
- Keep garbage cans closed.
- Clear vegetation around the house.
- Keep lights on at night.
- Coyotes, which are mostly active between dusk and dawn, are very adaptable and will eat almost anything. Their presence is driven by hunger. While they typically don’t attack humans, they are becoming less shy and may pose a threat to pets. They den near creeks and breed during spring. Coyotes are often brownish-gray but can also be black or albino. Recognize them by their long legs, tall pointed ears, slender muzzle and bushy tail.