WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - A recent increase in stray animals and dog attacks draws concern for Walnut Ridge Mayor Charles Snapp.
"Last year, I found out we housed 95 stray dogs throughout the season of 2014," Snapp said. "We've had a real significant problem in the last couple of weeks."
Snapp said the city found a stray pitbull Tuesday, a 17-year-old girl was attacked by a dog Tuesday night and another pitbull was picked up Wednesday morning.
The owner of the dog that was picked up Wednesday morning has been notified.
Snapp said a recent shift in the city has caused animal control to slow down.
"It's a combination of problems," Snapp said. " One, we promoted our code enforcement officer which also serves as animal control but at the same time, we lost the pound that was taking care of the animals we picked up."
Snapp said Gateway Animal Clinic was previously housing the dogs but as they expanded their services and relocated, they decided housing the stray animals was no longer part of their business plan.
Wednesday morning, Snapp and other department heads for the city met with animal control officers in Pocahontas to review their options for Walnut Ridge.
"We're trying to get ideas of what we can do," Snapp said. "We're trying to find common ground between the City of Walnut Ridge and the vets that own the former Gateway Animal Clinic building to see if there's some way the city can work something out with that building or what we're going to have to do as a city."
Snapp expressed urgency in finding a solution, stating the safety of his residents was of high concern.
He said he feels confident the city can create a facility modeling Animal Control in Pocahontas.
"I'm trying to get the details so I can approach the council," Snapp said. "The timing is right,we might as well go ahead and take the steps, handle our own problem and then as we can expand, we can benefit others."
Snapp said a city committee plans to present a proposal for a new animal control ordinance at the next city council meeting scheduled for April 20.