Dog ordinance changing

By Brandi Hodges - bio | email

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - The city has a lot of problems with dogs running loose in the city.  Now they're adding what could be seen as harsh penalties to dog owners who don't follow the rules.

In Walnut Ridge city officials say dogs can be found roaming the streets.  Animal Control Officer Robert Rice said it's a big problem.

"We're just getting a lot of calls of people not putting their dogs up.  We've got some that it's just an ongoing thing repeatedly letting their dogs out," said Rice.

There is an existing ordinance in the city dealing with dogs and other animals but Mayor Michelle Rogers said it doesn't do enough.

"It didn't really allow the code enforcement officer at some point to say, 'Hey I keep having to go back to these folks house and even though their coming in here and getting their dog out it's not helping anything because they're still letting it go'," said Mayor Michelle Rogers.

"Animal attacks, animals loose running around.  We go look for it and if we locate it we pick it up," said Rice.

Now the change gives the city more options.

"They get three chances.  After the third chance it's my discretion.  The dog will be adopted out or they have 72 hours to fix the problem," said Rice.

"At some point they may not get the dog back.  If they can't show that they can keep it put up the dog will either be adopted out or, as badly as I hate to say, this some of them have to be euthanized," said Rogers.

Dogs are held at Gateway Animal Clinic and are available for adoption after the five day waiting period.  Dog owners can try to get their pet back but they have to prove they are trying to make a change.

"You don't know a dog.  You don't know if that dog is vicious.  You don't know if that dog is aggressive.  That dog may be fine but if you don't know the dog you don't know," said Rogers.

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