This week, the Alabama Legislature passed two bills to address dangerous dogs in unincorporated Mobile County. Yep, that’s how our legislators are forced to spend their time, addressing local issues. The 1901 Constitution prohibited home rule, concentrating power in the Legislature and the rich white power brokers who controlled it. (Over the years, municipalities with the requisite political clout have managed to wrest some limited home rule power from the state, which makes the system confusing as well as inefficient.)
Anyway, the bills call for a constitutional amendment that would permit authorities in unincorporated Mobile County to designate certain dogs as dangerous — even if said dogs have not attacked or injured anyone — and hold their owners responsible for restraining them and publicly identifying them as dangerous. That’s right. A local animal control issue requires an amendment to our already bloated Constitution.
In a not at all surprising twist, Dr. Natalie Davis of Birmingham-Southern College pointed out this morning (as part of her weekly legislative review on WBHM) that an amendment was offered to exempt legislators from the dangerous dog law. I’m stunned. Really.