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Andalusia residents can’t shoot pests

Andalusia residents are no longer allowed to hold a permit to shoot nuisance animals — namely squirrels — inside the city limits, assistant police chief Mike Bowlan said Monday.

“In years past, the department has issued permits for residents to dispose of nuisance animals,” Bowlan said. “That meant if a resident had a problem with squirrels, they could come to the police department and get a permit and shoot (the squirrels).

“Now with the growing number of complaints, we’re going to suspend that program,” he said. “I don’t know if it will it will be for indefinitely or at least until we can come up with better guidelines for the program.”

Bowlan said the new mandate also applies to city residents in possession of the Alabama Department of Conservation’s crop damage permit, which gives citizens the authority to dispose of deer caught damaging crops.

Bowlan said with the city’s population growth, it has become increasingly unsafe to discharge a firearm within the city limits.

“There are so many situations that can happen when discharging a firearm inside the city,” he said. “Most especially, the danger of hitting a person or a building or home. In the neighborhoods, we have kids climbing in trees and they’re not wearing hunter orange. It could be very easy for a stray bullet to accidentally hit someone.”

Bowlan said if law enforcement is called to a residence because of the discharge of a firearm, those responsible will “more likely than not” be cited, as the action is prohibited by city ordinance.

Residents with animal nuisance problems should report the problem to the police department at 222-1155, “so we can get some traps out there,” Bowlan said.