/“Protect yourselves at all times by any means necessary”: council on Indian Highlands strays 
City Council in gold letters on purple backgroundGraphic by Bell Jackson

“Protect yourselves at all times by any means necessary”: council on Indian Highlands strays 

By Cady Inabinett, News editor 

Ongoing issues with stray dogs in the Indian Highlands subdivision were a hot button topic at the Montevallo City Council’s March 14 meeting, with several neighborhood residents addressing the council about the issue. 

Neighborhood resident Joyce Sherer was the first to bring up the topic, saying, “All I can say is these dogs are getting more and more aggressive.” 

Sherer told the council that she was walking with a neighbor last week when one of the dogs charged them from behind. 

“The walkers in our little haven up there are walking with bats, canes, whatever they can find short of using a gun, but you know. Whatever they can find to keep themselves safe,” she commented. 

She also shared that many people have stopped walking in the neighborhood out of fear of the dogs. 

“We’re just begging as a community,” Sherer said. “Begging, begging, begging please we’ve got to get rid of these dogs somehow.” 

Several council members spoke on the issue after Sherer. Council member Martha Eisenberg said, “What she says is true. I got phone call this morning at 8:20 about the dogs being around someone’s house and causing their animals to react. Also, the other night at 7:00 on 119 I saw all three of them. So, we gotta do something.” 

Council member Sonya Swords, the council representative for the Indian Highlands area, assured Sherer, “We’re working on it diligently every day.” 

Council member Kenneth Dukes urged neighborhood residents to protect themselves, saying, “I would also suggest that you alls protect yourselves at all times by any means necessary.” 

He went on to say that he would do the same before commenting, “I don’t wanna say what I want to say, but I would do the same.” 

A few more residents of the neighborhood addressed the council after Sherer, sharing similar sentiments and stories of the dogs impacting their daily lives. Additionally, Montevallo resident Greg Reece, who said he does not live in the subdivision also spoke on the issue, saying, “My wife called me a few mornings ago. She was walking our dog. Went over into the Indian Highlands neighborhood. Called me, ‘Come and get me because the dogs are here and it’s terrifying.’ So it’s really scary.” 

After this, Mayor Rusty Nix commented, “We are doing what we can to get the dogs. We’ve got a tranquilizer gun and the drugs to go with it.” 

He went on to say the city employees have been in the neighborhood “hunting them” every morning but haven’t had much success because the dogs recognize the sound of the city’s trucks. 

Residents speaking on the dog issue were not the only ones to address the council at the meeting. Montevallo resident C.P. Pierson addressed the council as well, asking for an update on the ongoing hotel development project. City clerk Steve Gilbert responded that the council and the hotel developer company, Cobblestone Properties, have both been presented with an incentive package. 

“At this time, where we stand is that council has been briefed on the incentive package for the hotel. That has been presented to Cobblestone Properties. They were in town about two weeks ago, C.P., with a potential investor,” Gilbert said.  

Gilbert said that they also met with university president Dr. John Stewart, but he didn’t provide details from that meeting. He also said the developers visited the potential location for the hotel. 

However, before anything can go forward the real estate company will have to renew their pro forma—a report that details a property’s net opening income and cash flow projections, as Gilbert pointed out, saying, “They are going back because the pro forma that was originally done has expired. They will have to have another pro forma done, so we’re waiting on to find out what that status will be. And, so, they have been made a potential offer for an incentive package and we’re waiting to hear back from them at that point.” 

Ashley Bell, the Democrat nominee for Shelby County District Court Judge, also made a presentation at the meeting. She outlined her platform, saying that it consisted of four main principles: faith, family, experience and integrity. 

“I vow to always be impartial. I vow to be fair. And, I vow to uphold the ethical obligation of my position,” she said before encouraging voters to head to the polls on May 24 for the primary elections. 

Accomplishments of Montevallo Middle School and High School students were recognized during the meeting as well. First, the council recognized the Montevallo High School wrestling team. Wrestling coach Garrett Langer highlighted the team’s accomplishments, including placing fifth overall in the state tournament, their highest finish ever, and student Allison Trione’s win in the state championship. 

Representatives from the Sons of the American Revolution were also present at the meeting to recognize Montevallo Middle School and High School students who won academic awards through the organization.  

The council also passed several motions during their meeting. The first motion adopted the Shelby County Multi-Jurisdictional, Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan. This plan aims to coordinate natural hazard response among municipalities in Shelby County. Nix said that it has to be renewed on a regular basis. The motion to adopt it passed unanimously. 

Next, the council unanimously approved a recommendation from the Montevallo Planning and Zoning Commission to accept a zoning change request from Montevallo resident Kevin Boyd. The change rezoned Boyd’s land parcel from an agricultural zone to a business zone, so Boyd can operate a garage business on the property. There was a public hearing on the topic at the beginning of the meeting, but no one spoke for or against the zoning change.  

Two motions were passed regarding the development of the Ammersee Lakes subdivision. First, approved releasing Bagley Properties from their bond for Ammersee Lakes Sector I for Ammersee Lakes Drive since the one-year maintenance and warranty has expired. This motion passed with Eisenberg opposing it and Swords abstaining from the vote. 

Second, accepted the dedication of the street known as Ammersee Lakes Drive from Bagley Properties, LLC. The motion passed with only Eisenberg opposing. 

The council also voted to accept a $4,457.30 price quote from Stella-Jones Corporation to perform maintenance to a bridge in Orr Park. 

The motion passed with Nix abstaining because, as he explained, “It’s coming from the company I work for.” 

The next City Council meeting will be held Monday, March 28, at 6 p.m. The meeting will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page. Citizens may also attend the meeting in person at City Hall. 

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Cady Inabinett is the editor in chief of The Alabamian. She’s majoring in English and double-minoring in political science and peace and justice studies. She enjoys reading, watching movies, caring for houseplants and generally just being pretentious in her free time.