from Mobile Circuit Court (CC-16-4904; CC-17-1020;
CC-17-1021; CC-17-1827; CC-17-1828; and CC-17-1830)
Pearl Wallen appeals her convictions for six counts of
violating Mobile's ordinance prohibiting public
nuisances, see § 7-21, Mobile City Code
1991. She was fined $25 for each count and was
ordered to pay court costs for one of those convictions
does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence against
her; thus, only a brief recitation of the facts is necessary
here. Just before 5:00 p.m. on March 9, 2016, Officer Corey
Tillman, an animal-control officer with the City of Mobile,
received an anonymous complaint about multiple dogs barking
at Wallen's home located on Staples Road in Mobile. In
response to the complaint, Officer Tillman drove to
Wallen's home and, per protocol, parked his vehicle
across the street in an effort not to disturb the dogs on her
property. According to Officer Tillman, as he sat in his
vehicle, he heard multiple dogs barking continuously in
Wallen's backyard for approximately 10 minutes.
point, Officer Tillman got out of his vehicle and went to
Wallen's home to speak with her. Wallen answered the
door, and Officer Tillman told her why he was there.
Specifically, he told her that he had received a complaint
about her barking dogs and that he could smell feces and
urine from the road. According to Officer Tillman, Wallen
told him that she did not think her dogs were a problem and
she took him to her backyard so that he could look at them.
Officer Tillman testified that he saw 28 dogs in Wallen's
backyard that day and that he took pictures of the unsanitary
conditions in which they were being kept. He then issued a
citation to Wallen for violating Mobile's public-nuisance
same day, Julie Brannon, a realtor in the area, went to list
a house for sale that was located behind Wallen's home.
As she walked around the property, Brannon heard Wallen's
dogs barking and thought that the noise was
"overwhelming." (R. 114.) According to Brannon, the
noise went on continuously for 30 to 45 minutes while she was
there. Brannon further testified that, each time she showed
the house to a potential buyer, she heard the dogs barking.
3:30 and 4:00 p.m. on October 21, 2016, Officer Tillman
received another anonymous complaint concerning the noises
and the smell coming from Wallen's backyard where her
dogs were kept. Once again, Officer Tillman drove to
Wallen's residence and parked across the street. He
waited for 10 minutes before attempting to speak with Wallen,
and during that time, he said, her dogs barked nonstop. He
tried to speak with Wallen that day, but she was not home. He
left her a notice and later mailed the public-nuisance
citations issued against her to her home.
November 30, 2016, Officer Joshua Seals, an animal-control
officer with the City of Mobile, received a complaint about
dogs barking at Wallen's address. After he arrived at
Wallen's residence, Officer Seals stated that he sat in
his vehicle and waited for 15 or 20 minutes. During that
time, he said he heard "many" dogs barking nonstop.
When he went to speak with Wallen about the noise, she was
not at home. He left her a notice to contact animal control
January 25, 2017, Office Seals received another complaint
about barking dogs at Wallen's home. Officer Seals, once
again, went to Wallen's home and sat in his vehicle for
15 to 20 minutes listening to the dogs bark. At some point,
Officer Seals spoke with Wallen and informed her that he had
received a complaint about her dogs barking. According to
Officer Seals, Wallen referred him to her attorney.
9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. on February 9, 2017, Officer Tillman
received another anonymous complaint concerning the noises
and smell coming from Wallen's property. He again
observed the dogs barking continuously for 10 minutes.
Officer Tillman said that, when he tried to talk to Wallen
about the complaint, she was uncooperative and told him to
stay away from her property. Officer Tillman issued another
citation to Wallen for violating Mobile's public nuisance
March 3, 2017, Officer Joshua Seals received another
anonymous complaint about the noise coming from Wallen's
property. While sitting in his vehicle across from
Wallen's home, Officer Seals heard her dogs barking
nonstop for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. He then decided
to speak with one of Wallen's neighbors about the noise.
At some point during their conversation, Wallen pulled up in
her vehicle and began filming Officer Seals. Officer Seals
issued Wallen another public-nuisance citation.
Bates, Jr., testified that he purchased the house adjacent to
Wallen's property on November 30, 2016. On January 25,
2017, February 9, 2017, and March 3, 2017, he telephoned
animal control to report that Wallen's dogs had been
barking nonstop and that he was concerned about the
conditions in which they were being kept.
2017, Wallen appeared before the Mobile Circuit Court and
entered a plea of not guilty to the multiple charges against
her alleging violations of Mobile's public-nuisance
ordinance, § 7-21, Mobile City Code, 1991. On June 13,
2017, she filed a motion to dismiss. In her motion, Wallen
argued that § 7-21 of the Mobile City Code was
unconstitutionally vague, that it violated her due-process
rights, and that it failed to provide for reasonable time,
place, and manner restrictions. On June 23, 2017, the City of
Mobile filed its response in which it argued that
Wallen's contentions were without merit. Wallen's
motion was ultimately denied.
September 27, 2017, a jury trial was held. In addition to the
testimony discussed above, three of Wallen's neighbors
also testified. Claude Jefferson stated that he lived 300
yards away from Wallen and that he had never had any issues
with her or with her barking dogs. Jauran Jackson testified
that he could hear Wallen's dogs barking whenever he was
in his backyard but that they would bark only if someone was
with them. Finally, Marjorie Anthony stated that she lived
across the street from Wallen and that she was home all day,
every day. According to Anthony, although she has heard
Wallen's dogs occasionally bark throughout the day, the
noises they made had never disturbed her.
McKinney, an employee of the City of Mobile animal shelter,
testified that she was called out to Wallen's home twice
after receiving complaints about barking dogs. When she
responded to the first complaint, she drove to Wallen's
home and, as she sat in her vehicle per protocol, she stated
that she did not hear any barking. When she responded to the
second complaint, she did the same thing and, once again, did
not hear any barking.
Wallen testified in her own defense. She told the jury that,
for 48 years, she had raised and competed in dog shows with
her dogs. According to Wallen, the highest number of dogs she
had on her property at one time was between 28 and 29, but on
average she generally had between 14 and 18 dogs at her home.
When asked if she had ever received any noise complaints
about her dogs before the first nuisance complaint in March
2016, Wallen stated that she had not.
deliberations, the jury found Wallen guilty of six counts of
violating Mobile's public-nuisance ordinance, §
7-21(1), Mobile City Code 1991, for the incidents involving
her barking dogs. On November 1, 2017, she was ordered to
pay a $25 fine for each conviction and was also ordered to