Stray dogs a problem in Miss. Co.

MISSISSIPPI COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Stray dogs are becoming an increasing problem in Mississippi County, according to several mayors.

The issue was discussed at the bi-monthly Mississippi County mayors meeting Tuesday night.

Dyess Mayor Larry Sims said strays are especially hard to handle in the smaller cities in Mississippi County because the funding and space needed to take responsibility for the animals is often limited.

"Our pound will hold four at a time, and it has been full a lot of times," said Mayor Sims.

"The bigger cities, they have dog catchers, animal control trucks to pick them up and everything else. We don't have them. All we have is a cage and a pick up truck and a pound to feed them and take care of them for a week."

If no one claims ownership of a dog after seven days of the city feeding and housing the animal, it is euthanized, which Mayor Sims says is costly for the town.

"By the time we pick the dog up to have it euthanized, we're looking at $250, $300 per dog."

Dyess resident Thomas Sparks is concerned about the safety of the children in the town.

"(My wife and I) get out and ride bicycles all the time for exercise, and my grandkids, they like to get out and ride bicycles with us," he said. "We try to go to the back streets to get away from the traffic, but there's so many dogs that's running loose."

Mayor Sims says the city council passed an ordinance at the council meeting on Tuesday, May 21, for residents to vote on a one-cent sales tax that would allow the city to hire a code enforcer.

"Someone to say, 'Hey, this is your dog. Keep it put up. Keep it on a leash. We have the ordinances in place. We don't have the financial means to enforce them," Mayor Sims said.

He expects the sales tax vote to take place late July or early August.

Blytheville resident Shirley Connealy spearheaded an effort to form a board to plan for a county-wide animal shelter in March 2012. Forty-five thousand dollars of the estimated $200,000 needed to build a shelter has been raised for the project.

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