Debate Over Animal Cruelty Heats Up in Elberta

Dogs at center of controversey
An Elberta man is moving his dogs after numerous claims of cruelty.

Her name is “Lucky” and according to Robert Brunker, she definitely is. “I looked over in that field and saw that puppy running around in circles on his front paws, not on his back paws. He could not get his back feet underneath him. I knew he was having a heat stroke.”

She’s fine now but that incident started a feud of sorts with his neighbor. Brunker claiming animal cruelty. “It wasn’t one time but it happened two or three times a week. If I hadn’t been there that other puppy would have died.”

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“We received numerous complaints about the dogs,” said Elberta Police Chief Stan Devane. According to state law, if you provide food, shelter and water it is not animal cruelty. “There is nothing law enforcement can do,” says Devane, “he’s in compliance with state law. It might not be what other people think the ideal place to put them and keep them is but that’s not our decision.”

Even with triple digit heat indexes, it is not animal cruelty. “People are passionate about their animals and when they see other animals that they think is being mistreated they want immediate action. It’s not that simple.”

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The owner of the dogs did not want to appear on camera but he told News Five because of the harassment over how he cares for his hunting dogs, he will remove them from his property.

While several Baldwin County cities, like Fairhope, Orange Beach and Gulf Shores have passed ordinances to strengthen animal welfare laws, the state animal cruelty laws remain some of the weakest in the nation.

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