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SEPTEMBER 23 / 2007
Sonnie Hereford IV holds his fathers hand in 1962 after troopers stopped them from entering Fifth Avenue Elementary School. Soon, though, Hereford became the first black student in Huntsville City Schools. In 1970, a federal desegregation order was issued under which the citys schools still operate.


Classifieds: 532-4222

A days toll is 6 pit bulls

Do we still need the feds to walk us to school?

Have an opinion?
The Times is launching its annual search for community columnists.

Huntsville City Schools is taking the first steps to shed a 37-year-old federal desegregation order. The systems attorney, though, warns that after years of federal scrutiny and potential upheaval to achieve unitary status, the school board may not get the result it wants. It is going to be painful, and it is going to be disruptive, says J.R. Brooks.
Bryan Bacon/Huntsville Times

Michael Foote of New Hope shows one of his pit bulls strength as it hangs suspended in the air by its teeth, where it will stay until he gives an order to let go of the rope. Foote, who runs Mercy Kennels, takes his gentle dogs to nursing homes to cheer up residents. These dogs are this way because they were raised in a good Christian home, he tells people who equate pit bulls with viciousness. For a story on the positive side of the breed, see A13.

IN LOCAL: How the federal order hampers local decisions. PAGE A13

Huntsville Animal Services Director Karen Hill Sheppard is tired of the pattern she sees with the six or so pit bulls brought into the shelter on a typical day. Many are mangy, malnourished, abandoned. Traits that make these dogs so valuable strength, tenacity, a tough reputation also make them victims. Rarely adopted because of their aggressiveness, most end up having to be euthanized.
IN LOCAL: A vicious circle of breeding and abandonment. PAGE A13

Psychologist in porn case, wife found dead

Michael Cometa, accused of videotaping a nude teen girl in his Huntsville office, and his seriously ill wife die from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in Baldwin County.
IN LOCAL: Trial was to begin Oct. 29. PAGE A19

A recipe for success mixes UAH, business

You dont have many opportunities to develop a business school from scratch, says Dr. David Billings, wholl retire as dean of the newly renamed UAH College of Business Administration. It is an entrepreneurial activity in academia, and like most entrepreneurial ventures, theres a high risk.
IN BUSINESS: How the school grew. PAGE C1
Huntsville, Alabama Vol. 98, No. 185, 100 pages Contents 2007, Huntsville Times

A proud history
The past is not forgotten at Grambling, where the memory of Eddie Robinson still looms large.
IN SPORTS: A&M falls 31-6. PAGE B1

IN PARADE: A guide to help you through the confusing task of selecting your health benefits for 2008. Fall is open enrollment season for employerprovided insurance plans.

Blackwater under fire

A senior Iraqi official says investigators have a videotape that shows guards from a private U.S. security contractor shot at civilians without provocation, killing 11 people last Sunday.
IN NEWS: Diplomats avoid each other. PAGE A3, A5

Full forecast, A20

High today Low tonight

Abby / F3 Books / F13 Business / C1 Calendar / F5 Classifieds / E1 Crossword/ E5 Deaths / A16 Editorials / A22 Forum / A21 Horoscope / F5 Life&Leisure / F1 Local&State / A13 Lotteries / A2 Movies / F12 Real estate / D1 Sports / B1 Sudoku/ D2 Television/ A20 Travel / G1 Weddings / F7

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Look inside today for more than $133 worth of coupon savings!

Alabama A&M celebrates homecoming week, A17 | Law & Order, A14 | Obituaries, A16 | Intersections, A15

Take a ride

Bicycles will be cruising the streets of downtown and old Huntsville this weekend. A Vintage & Cruiser Bicycle Ride is set for today at 2:30 p.m. Those who want to participate should meet in front of Huntsville Middle School on Adams Street by 2:15. The ride will be conversationally paced and will be through the downtown and historic area and around Big Spring before stopping for malts at Sonic. Families are welcome and helmets are required. For information, email

Program puts focus on internal medicine
Joint training effort may reverse doctor shortage
Times Staff Writer

The Huntsville Times | Sunday, September 23, 2007


Road Watch
Traffic is reduced to one lane eastbound on Monroe Street near the Chamber of Commerce.

Governors Drive
Saint Clair Ave.

A cure is in the works for a critical shortage of internal medicine doctors in Huntsville. Officials from Huntsville Hospital and the University of

Alabama at Birmingham are working together to launch a new internal medicine residency training program at UABs regional medical campus on Governors Drive. Dr. Robert Centor, dean of UABs Huntsville campus, said the three-year program could admit its first residents as soon as July 2009. It would be tailored for medical school graduates who want to work

as internists doctors who specialize in adult internal medicine. Were doing all the planning with the assumption that we will figure out a way to get the funding, Centor said. UABs Huntsville campus now offers a three-year famBryan Bacon/Huntsville Times ily practice residency for 36 Dr. Nancy Blevins of the University of Alabama at Birmingham faculty watches as first-year intern James Morrison examines Please see MEDICINE on A17 a patient at the Huntsville clinic.

Governors Dr.
kway ial Par mor Me
Harvard Rd.

Eastbound lane closed

e allac Bob W


Huntsville Times

The right-hand, eastbound lane is closed from Harvard Road to Montgomery Street through Oct. 15. To view Governors traffic, visit

Aggressive dogs often vulnerable at the end

Poor care and neglect breed trouble, and then pit bulls become victims
Times Staff Writer

Schools may try to shed the feds

Board members look at pros, cons if step is taken
Times Staff Writer

Gallatin St.

Champ search
A weeklong competition begins near Priceville to see who has the 2007 World Grand Champion among 700 or so racking horses brought from 14 states to Celebration Arena. But its not all about horses. A15

Got ethics?
A committee says all employees at the Alabama Department of Environmental Management, and especially its top staff, should have annual mandatory ethics training. A14

Ditto driver

What happened in the case of the driver who plowed into three parked cars July 4 at Ditto Landing? A14

Helping hand
Pat McMillion is a retired teacher spearheading efforts to bring a one-room schoolhouse to Burritt on the Mountain. A14

SUV death

An autopsy is planned on an 8-month-old girl found dead in her fathers SUV in Mobile. Phong Tran, 27, of Mobile unintentionally left Kaleen Tran in his Dodge Durango after dropping off his two other children Thursday morning at Little Flower Catholic School, said police spokesman Officer Eric Gallichant. Tran realized that his daughter was still in the SUV when he returned to Little Flower at 5:45 p.m. Thursday to pick up his children from afterschool care, Gallichant said.

No. 24 doesnt have a name. The black and white pit bull dog doesnt have a collar or any sort of ID. Shes one of six pit bulls that the Huntsville Animal Shelter typically receives each day, and shes one of the six that will be euthanized if her owner doesnt claim her. The mangy pit bull, with her one icy blue eye and one brown eye, wont even let shelter workers touch her. Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard, director of Huntsville Animal Services, has tried. She has watched the black and white pit bull recoil when her cage clicks open. Sheppard said shes tired of seeing these dogs, who will be euthanized in a week if they arent claimed, come into the shelter with ticks and fleas, mange, worms - or worse. Its a pattern that Sheppard has seen emerging in the pit bulls that come through the shelter. The traits that make these dogs so valuable their strength, tenacity and reputation as tough dogs also make them victims. People tire of them after a while. Then they discard them. Theyre doing it for fun, Sheppard said as she closed No. 24s cage, one of seven cages that day holding neglected pit bulls. Its such an evil thing to do. Humans are so amazing, but when you hear about this kind of thing, it makes you so cynical.

Bryan Bacon/Huntsville Times

Officer Virgie Graham of Huntsville Animal Services picks up a pit bull off Glasgow Road in north Huntsville to take it to the local shelter to wait for its owner to claim the dog.

One of many
No. 24, a pit bull that obviously was used for breeding, just showed up at the shelter. Theres no way for shelter workers to tell if she was stolen, if she ran away or if someone simply dropped her off. Animal Services policy generally doesnt allow the adoption of pit bulls because of the breeds reputation as unpredictable and potentially aggressive dogs. With adult pit bulls, its hard to know

for sure how they were raised and what kind of temperament they have developed, Sheppard said. If they do for whatever reason decide to display aggression, the difference of a bite between a Chihuahua and a 50pound pit bull is enormous, she said. People are still a bit intimidated sometimes by adopting them. The shelter has limited slots for adoptable dogs, and workers have to choose the most likely to go to a good home, she said. The policy is also a safeguard for a city that doesnt want to be held liable for a dog that injures someone, and for a shelter that doesnt want to take the chance of adopting a dog that could hurt someone. Even more so, Sheppard said, she doesnt want to see a pit bull fall into the hands of an owner who wants the dog for the wrong reason. Sheppard wasnt

director when the policy was developed, but she understands its intent. Its so easy to say its policy, Sheppard said, but very infrequently is a policy created for one particular reason.

The number problem

Are pit bulls inherently vicious? It depends on whom you ask. Statistics compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 60 percent of dog-bite fatalities were caused by pit-bull types and Rottweilers. The CDC data span 20 years of dogbite reports from 1979 to 1998, but the center didnt intend for its numbers to be used as the basis for breed-specific legislation. According to the report, the data could show a strong bias because bites by certain breeds pit bulls, Dobermans and Rottweilers are more likely to be Please see DOGS on A19

In an effort to emerge from its civil rights past, Huntsville City Schools is taking the first steps to shed a 37-year-old federal desegregation order. It is going to be painful, and it is going to be disruptive, attorney J.R. Brooks told the city school board Thursday night, warning that the board could be forced to transfer many teachers and redraw school zone lines. Some board members see a reward in no J.R. Brooks is longer being the attorney required to ask for the city the Depart- school sysment of Jus- tem. tice and the NAACP for approval of where they want to build schools. The first questions from the Justice Department could arrive in the next few days, Brooks told the board. So the process begins. He said a majority of the board has indicated that it is interested in pursuing the matter. But there has been no vote of the school board, no formal action and no public commitment. I would say that the board hasnt voted on anything, board President Doug Martinson Jr. said Friday. We have not authorized the board attorney to do anything. The

Please see SCHOOLS on A17

Babs didnt wait on opportunity, created own

Martha Fleming ote: Thanks to used to ride her horse Christine up from their farm, Richard for her Ropers niece, Beth research on the Carter, remembered life of Babs Roper. Friday. She was referChristine, if you recogring to another of nize some of your own Huntsvilles storied prewords, its because they boom families. were better than mine. LEE When people talk From a tiny apartROOP about Nolan and Babs ment over a flower Columnist Roper, the phrase shop to one of our hard-working comes biggest homes, Frances Babs Ropers life was a great up early. They were the workingest Huntsville story. Could it have people Ive ever known, longhappened anywhere? If you time friend Nell Lackey said knew her, you wouldnt bet against it, but it suits this city Friday. Driven, said another old like babys breath suits a friend. dozen roses. After years of seven-day When Nolan Roper brought his young bride here weeks, the shop was turning a in 1938, Huntsville was a tex- profit, and in 1949 the Ropers bought a piece of land. It was tile mill town of 13,000 people. Whitesburg Drive, where the 7-acre Old Cramer Place Ellen Hudson/Huntsville Times their florist shop opened that on Franklin Street at Big Cove Frances Babs Roper had lived year, was a gravel road. Road. in Huntsville since 1938.

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The tract came with a landmark home the couple restored, and they turned its fields into giant nurseries. Its said those colorful fields were on many peoples route for a Sunday drive. If the land had a past, it also had a future. It wasnt through making history. Humana Corp. wanted to open a for-profit hospital here to compete with Huntsville Hospital, and it wanted the Ropers land to do it. The corporation paid the couple $1 million for the land in 1968. At the time, it was a record price for a single piece of property in Huntsville. But Nolan Roper wasnt just a guy with a green thumb. He took a seat on the board of what would be Medical Center hospital. Later, Roper would help start a bank in town known

as the Bank of Huntsville. When it was bought by Colonial Bankgroup, Roper got a seat on that board, too. Meanwhile, the couple were quietly buying other property. Office complexes and apartment buildings joined their holdings. Babs Roper took her husbands seat on the bank board when he died in 1981 and became the first woman to sit on the board of Colonial Bankgroup of Alabama. It didnt take the bankers long to learn that she was as savvy as her husband. Well into her 80s, Babs Roper still worked at the flower shop. She enjoyed her Orange Beach condominium, traveled widely and quietly supported a host of local charities and institutions. Please see ROOP on A17

The Huntsville Times, Sunday, September 23, 2007 A19

Continued from page A13

Huntsville Animal Services shelter

Houses animals in the city of Huntsville and Madison County, with the exception of the city of Madison. Entire shelter (includes cats, dogs and other animals) Intake 9,595 Live release* 2,442 Live release rate 34% Euthanized 7,153 Pit bulls and pit-bull mixes Intake 1,058 Live release** 185 Live release rate 21% Euthanized 873 * Includes adoptions, rescues and returns to owners ** Five American Bulldogs passed temperament testing and were adopted. The other pit bulls were sent to rescue groups or returned to owners.
Numbers from 2006

reported. Yet the three breeds classified as pit bulls regularly score above the norm, an 81.5 percent passing rate, during temperament testing, according to the American Temperament Testing Society. The nonprofit association tested about 215 breeds and more than 27,000 dogs as of December. American Pit Bull Terriers have an 84.1 percent passing rate. American Staffordshire Terriers have an 83.9 percent passing rate, while 85.2 percent of Staffordshire Bull Terriers pass the test. Its difficult to say, though, how a pit bull will react in every situation based on a 12-minute test, said Madison County Animal Control Director Mike Fritz. The natural programming of the pit bull is to fight, Fritz said. People do talk about the loyalty of the dog. Thats all part of the design of that breed. Pit bulls are specifically bred not to be aggressive toward humans, Fritz said. They were originally bred to fight other dogs, and the rules of dogfighting dictate that dog owners must be able to control their dogs. Yes, there are people who are hurt and mauled, but thats probably bad breeding as opposed to the natural instincts of the dog, he said. Fritz gets calls at least once at a day about roaming pit bulls, and some days county animal control officers have to pick up as many as eight. People buy the dogs without doing any research on them and later dump them because theyre not what they expected, Fritz said. They dont know what theyve got, he said. I think a lot of people get them as a status symbol.

such as people who want a dog that hasnt been spayed or neutered, or applicants who list the dogs primary home as a backyard. Both the rescue group and Huntsville Animal Services perform temperament testing on the dogs if theyre being considered for adoption. Our goal is to never put a bad dog back in society, Ralph said. Huntsville Animal Services allowed five American bulldogs to be adopted in 2006 after they passed the Safety Assessment for Evaluating Rehoming, or SAFER, temperament test. The test measures the dogs response to situations involving people, other dogs and cats. Were very careful when we do these tests, Sheppard said. Even if the dog tries to kill the cat, that doesnt mean we wont adopt it. We just warn the people about what theyre getting into.

know if it got up and ran away or someone stole it.

Solution to the problem

Virgie Graham didnt hear much about pit bulls when he became a Huntsville Animal Services officer 18 years ago. But he sees them often now, roaming around town and tugging on chains in backyards. Hes familiar with the signs of a pit-bull home broken chains around trees; stakes, bricks and even grocery carts used to reinforce ragged chainlink fences. Thats not the kind of home a pit bull should have, Graham said. I think if we could get the information out, then we could cut down on the pit-bull problem, and on a lot of the citys problems with dogs, he said. Its a matter of education, he said. Thats the key. Grahams other solution? Stop it. Stop the breeding. Stop the dumping. Stop the fighting. Thats Ralphs solution, too. And Footes, and Fritzs. Legislation banning certain breeds only adds to the problem, they say. Irondale, Midfield, Gadsden, Lannett, Orange Beach and Warrior have either banned the dog or adopted restraint requirements. This legislation only prevents responsible owners from getting the dogs, dog trainer Barribeau said. And once responsible owners drop out of the picture, Barribeau said, all thats left are the people who have no regard for the law. So why should these people have any regard for what they consider an accessory?

Man in porn case, wife are suicides

Michael Cometa was psychologist in Huntsville
Mobile Press-Register

Dogs a liability?
Sept. 12, Huntsville A pit bull escapes from its home on Blue Spring Road and kills a poodle on nearby Shadow Lawn Drive. Aug. 24, Anniston A 51year-old woman ends up in intensive care after four pit bulls attack her near Blue Mountain. July 29, Huntsville A grandmother is seriously injured when her neighbors pit bull attacks her, leaving bite marks on her arms and hands. June 8, Golden Springs A woman has to get 60 stitches in her leg after a pit bull attacks her and her poodle during an afternoon walk. Its a mystery why these dogs choose to bite, but to Ralph at Turtle Moon Rescue, its no surprise that more bite reports are showing up in the news. There are too many pit bulls across the country, she said, and more dogs means more attacks. I used to get really upset because the shelter euthanized most of those dogs, but they dont have the resources to screen all these people, she said. I would rather see them euthanized than sold to fighters. Its hard to know where all these dogs come from and where they go, said Fritz and Sheppard of the county and city animal services. Adding to the uncertainty is the theft of pitbull puppies, which investigators with the Huntsville Police Department estimate are stolen every other week or so. Sgt. Wayne West, an investigator with the west precinct, said its hard to find the truth behind these thefts. Whenever we have a dog theft, its almost always a pit bull, and usually a puppy, he said. But other property cant get up and walk off. We dont

Bred for violence

Many people buy pit bulls because they look tough, said Chrissy Barribeau, a dog trainer at Huntsville Obedience Training Club. But just because the dog looks tough doesnt mean it can survive being tethered by a heavy chain in a barren backyard. Socialization is key for any dog, Barribeau said, but its critical for pit bulls to be around other dogs when theyre young. Like shepherds are born to herd, pit bulls are born to fight other dogs. I dont think a pit bull is any harder to train than another dog, but they do have certain traits that have to be worked with, she said. Ignorance plays a big role in whats happening with pit bulls. That ignorance of basic dog care results in neglected dogs, said Gwen Ralph, a local volunteer for the nonprofit pit-bull rescue group Turtle Moon. The lack of socialization and neglect, combined with inbreeding a technique that dogfighters use to make their dogs more aggressive creates violent, unstable pit bulls, Ralph said. Although many of the dogs Ralph sees are docile or can be rehabilitated, the Linevillebased rescue group occasionally has to send some dogs to be destroyed. Ralph said five 12-week-old puppies were euthanized this year because of their aggressive tendencies, a trait that should not appear in puppies that young. Its just like with humans, Ralph said. When you start inbreeding, you have genetic de-

fects. The inbred viciousness is a trait sought by people who want the dogs as status symbols or macho accessories, said Michael Foote, a New Hope resident who owns six pit bulls and seven pit-bull puppies. Often, Foote said, those people get the mean dogs theyre looking for at the expense of the dogs. No dog is born vicious. Its made that way, he said. Can you look at me and rationally say, I believe every single one of these dogs have developed some congenital disease to be aggressive toward people? Thats the perception, Foote said, and policies such as that of Huntsville Animal Services dont help the stigma. But Sheppard said its not just a pit-bull problem. The shelter receives about 9,500 animals a year, and more than 7,000 of those animals have to be destroyed, some because of temperament, others because of illness, age or simply the shelters lack of space for so many dogs.

Another one gone

Its been more than the fiveto seven-day grace period for No. 24. Shelter workers decide that her odd appearance the mismatched eyes, the missing fur, the scars and sagging skin from mothering many litters of puppies wont attract a family looking for a cuddly house pet. The dog didnt have a collar, and her owner never claimed her. No. 24 is dead.

No place to call home

Turtle Moon has seen 126 pit bulls this year. More than 339 people have contacted the nonprofit wanting to adopt or dump a pit bull. The groups adoption rate hovers around 20 percent. The application process is so stringent, Ralph said, that some applicants have said its easier to adopt a baby than a pit bull. Were just picky about where our babies go, she said. The rescue group watches for red flags in its applications,

MOBILE A former Huntsville psychologist facing child pornography charges and his wife killed themselves Friday under a Baldwin County beachfront home. Michael Stephen Cometa, 59, and Keri Cometa, 45, of Trenton, Ga., died of self-inflicted gunshot wounds under the stilted duplex along Fort Morgan Road, according to Baldwin County Sheriffs Office spokesman Anthony Lowery. Earlier that day, Michael Cometa failed to appear for an arraignment hearing in Madison County Circuit Court, his attorney, Larry Morgan, said Saturday. Cometa was accused of videotaping a nude 16-year-old girl in his office, Morgan said. A report in The Huntsville Times, citing the indictment, stated that the girl was under 16, and police said she was a client. Cometa was charged in 2004 with six counts of production of obscene matter and one count of possession of obscene material. The charges did not allege that Cometa had touched the girl in a sexual way, Morgan said. Cometa was free on bail pending his Oct. 29 trial. Prosecutors were prepared to recommend that Cometa spend five years in prison and five years on probation, Morgan told The Times. In March, after a bank foreclosed on Cometas Huntsville home and he filed for bankruptcy, he and his wife moved to Georgia, and he did not renew his license to practice psychology, Morgan said. His life was absolutely turned upside down as a result of the whole incident, Morgan said. He couldnt practice, his home was foreclosed, his wife was seriously ill.

He paid a big price for his involvement in this situation, he told The Times. Cometa was the sole provider for his wife, and if he had gone to prison, there would be nobody there for her, Morgan said. Morgan said his client was very remorseful and very contrite over the charges he faced. He said he and Cometa were trying to delay court action in the criminal case while trying to help the victim win a declaratory judgment from U.S. District Judge Lywood Smith that Cometas malpractice insurance company should pay her damages. Cometa was arrested about six months after his previous wife and secretary, Stephanie, 31, committed suicide in November 2003. On the Web site, where people can anonymously review therapists, three comments were about Cometa. One was positive. Another, posted by a 21year-old named Courtney from Huntsville, said she started seeing Cometa when she was 16. He kept telling me I should be a model, Courtney wrote. To make a long story short, one year later I am being called ... (by) an investigator to look at pictures of girls to see if I recognize them. On Friday, a witness reported hearing two loud blasts, and the bodies were discovered about 5 p.m. Inside a Jeep Grand Cherokee parked near the bodies, the couple left separate notes that indicated their suicide intentions, according to Lowery. Investigators found two shotguns at the scene. There was nothing to suggest the couple had ties to South Alabama, Lowery said. The two were not renting the vacation home.



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A18 The Huntsville Times, Sunday, September 23, 2007

His faithful companions help spread the Gospel

Foote takes dogs to nursing homes to dispel stereotype

pound bowling ball around his friends Detroit home. Almost 20 years later, Foote owns six adult pit bulls that are part of Watchman Ministry, a community outreach program By NIKI DOYLE Times Staff Writer that Foote joined about seven years ago. It would be any parents Every other Saturday, Foote nightmare. and his pets Mack, Ivory, An 8-month-old baby crawlAngel, Mayday, Grace and Mr. ing into a kitchen with a pit bull; Tibbs head out at 6 a.m. to the day-labor pools gathering on a baby innocent enough to Governors Drive. stick his hands and face in the Foote said people often bydogs bowl in mid-breakfast. pass the 70 sack lunches and five Panic. gallons of coffee and orange Thats the only feeling Joan juice he brings just to pet the Foote felt for that brief instant dogs. before the dog looked at her son, Its a way for him to reach out Tom, and walked off. to people and spread the Gospel No snarling, no growling, no nothing, said Footes husband, Bryan Bacon/Huntsville Times in a way that isnt so intrusive, he said. Michael. Its like he said, OK, Michael Foote of New Hope People will talk to me about if you want it, you can have it. owns six pit bulls and seven my dogs before they talk to me Most people would have puppies. about Jesus, he said. That gives immediately snatched their kid Michael and Joan Foote fell me a chance to say, These dogs up, but due to my stupidity, I guess, I stood there and in love with the pit bull, Boss, a are this way because they were watched. dog strong enough to carry a 16- raised in a good, Christian home. Foote takes his two-fold message of Gods love and the good that can be found in pit bulls to Beckwood Manor, a nursing home in Anniston. The dogs visited residents of Great Savings South Hampton Nursing and on Rehabilitation Center in Owens Broyhill Collections Cross Roads for about 11 months, but stories about a pitSpecialties: Chairs, bull attack caused administraEntertainment Units, Bedrooms, tors to second-guess the dogs it Dining Rooms, Sofas Mon-Sat 9-6 allowed there, Foote said.

Bryan Bacon/Huntsville Times

Michael Foote uses his pit bulls in reaching out to people at day-labor pools and nursing homes..

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I didnt even know about the story, but one of the administrators said, I heard pit bulls turn on their owners. I said, Maam, Im sure whichever one youre talking about did, but most of them dont. Administrators at Beckwood Manor werent sure of the dogs at first, either, he said, but they have come around after seeing the dogs and the way they interact with residents. You get people who dont usually move their arms who will move their arm to pet these dogs, Foote said.

His pit-bull family has turned into Mercy Kennels, which now has seven pit-bull puppies for sale. But dont try to pull a fast one on Foote buyers wanting a tough dog on a chain wont get one of these puppies. Foote, a former Army sergeant, screens applicants and insists that each owner implant a microchip in the dog. If the dog ever runs away or gets lost, a veterinarian can use the microchip to locate the owner. If the owner isnt found, the dog goes back to Foote.

Its a lifetime commitment, he said. In my opinion, you dont get one of these dogs and say, I dont want this dog anymore and stick it in the backyard. Footes dogs live in the backyard, but he created a doggie haven tree limbs instead of sticks, large tubs of water instead of little water bowls to meet the dogs needs. Daily jaunts around the neighborhood help release the dogs excessive energy, but those walks present their own problems, Foote said. Although a firm command of back will make all of his pit bulls fall back into line, some passers-by take the long route to avoid walking directly past him and his pack. Some people stare as they walk by, he said. Some people drive so far away on the other side of the road that you can hear them hit gravel.


At a glance
What, exactly, is a pit bull? It isnt a single breed, which is most peoples perception, said Marcy Setter, director of education and public relations for Pit Bull Rescue Central. Most people use the term pit bull dog to describe any dog with common pit-bull characteristics, namely the blocky head, thick neck and muscular body and jaws. Legally, the definition of pit bull varies by city, Setter said. The three breeds generally accepted as part of the pitbull group are the American Pit Bull Dog, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the American Staffordshire Terrier and any mixes of those breeds. Setter said pit bulls were born when breeders mixed bulldogs traditionally used for bull baiting, a sport in which the dog grasps a bull by its nose to render the bull helpless with terriers, which are know as tenacious, scrappy dogs.

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Court ruling
In 2002, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that four pit-bull puppies in Huntsvilles animal shelter were not vicious and should be available for adoption. The city sought to have the four puppies Justice, Nellie, David and Elizabeth destroyed because they were born to fighting dogs seized by police in April 2000. Though a temporary victory for pit-bull advocates, the ruling didnt change shelter policy restricting adoptions, said Mike Seibert, a lawyer in the case. It should have set a precedent, but the Supreme Court didnt issue an opinion on the policy, Seibert said. The shelter policy was established before Dr. Karen Hill Sheppard became director of Animal Services in 2002.

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8353 U.S. Hwy. 431 256-891-7200 BOAZ 432 U.S. Hwy. 431 S. 256-840-0026 2276 U.S. Hwy. 431 256-593-1113 CULLMAN 1405 2nd Ave. S.W., Ste. B 256-736-5525 DECATUR 2713-D Spring Place S.W. 256-353-3550

HUNTSVILLE 6459 University Dr., Ste. B 256-895-7788 1402 N. Memorial Pkwy., Ste. C 256-859-0400 9009 S. Memorial Hwy. 256-382-4474 MERIDIANVILLE 11041 Hwy. 231 N., Ste. C 256-829-1413 MUSCLE SHOALS 202A Wilson Dam Rd. 256-381-4999

Mens & Womens 844Men's & Women's Walking Shoe

Medicare/HCPCS Code Medicare/HCPCS Code A5500 Diabetic Shoe A5500 Diabetic Shoe
844 Walking Shoe

Rates exclude taxes and Sprint Fees (including USF charge of up to 3.03% that varies quarterly, cost recovery fees up to $1.55 per line and state/local fees that vary by area). Sprint Fees are not taxes or governmentrequired charges. May require up to $36 activation fee/line, credit approval and deposit. $200 early termination fee/line applies. Phone Offer: Offer ends 9/29/07 or while supplies last. Taxes excluded. Instant Savings: No cash back. Requires activation at the time of purchase. Mail-in Rebate: Requires purchase by 9/29/07 and activation by 10/13/07. Line must be active 30 consecutive days. Allow 8 to 12 weeks for rebate. Service Plan: Offer ends 9/29/07. Price and minutes included depends on specic plan selected. Nights: MonThurs. 7pm7am; Wknds: Fri. 7pmMon. 7am. Other Terms: The Nationwide Sprint PCS Network reaches over 262 million people. Coverage not available everywhere. Offers not available in all markets/retail locations or for all phones/networks. Pricing, offer terms, fees and features may vary for existing customers. Additional terms and restrictions apply. See store or for details. 2007 NFL Properties LLC. Team names/logos are trademarks of the teams indicated. All other NFL-related trademarks are trademarks of the National Football League. All third-party product or service names are property of their respective owners. All rights reserved. 2007 Sprint Nextel.

The ultimate walking shoe featuring breathable, stretch upper ultimate walking shoe featuring breathable, stretch The and a Rolibar designed especially for walking.
upper and a Rollbar designed especially for walking.

available at:

available at: wRIGHT WRIGHT medical, inc. inc. medical,

Accepts Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield

Accepts Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield

Hunstville Muscle Huntsville 3008 Bob WallaceShoals Rd Ave. 414 Wilson Dam 3008 Bob Wallace Ave 256-539-9896 256-314-1180 256-539-9896