Hoxie Residents Upset about Alleged Animal Abuse

July 21, 2006 -- Posted at 4:34 p.m. CDT

HOXIE, AR -- Allegations of animal mistreatment in Hoxie lead to confusion among residents.

Lyn Kirksey of Hoxie is the owner of two dogs.  Kirksey says her dog Martha has been removed from her yard at least once by the former dog catcher in the area.

"The second time I was watching and we stopped him from getting her," said Kirksey.

Several residents have complained to Lyn Kirksey's husband, a Hoxie City Councilman, about their dogs being taken from their yards.

"Their dogs were being picked up in their yards.  They'd go out to go to the bathroom and before they'd get back in, the dog catcher would get them," said Kirksey.

Kirksey said the former dog catcher was being paid ''by the dog'' for the animals he brought in.

After a while, she grew concerned about where the dogs were being kept, and didn't like what she found.

The dogs are housed in the Gateway Animal Clinic, which has a contract with several cities around Lawrence County.

"The dog catcher or a city official brings the animals in and we basically house the dogs.  We care for the dogs for a certain amount of time and we try to get the dogs back to their owners," said Veterinarian Dr Darren McVay.

The question that's being raised is about the adequacy of the facilities, and how the dogs are treated while they're here.

"The dogs are housed in the outside rooms.  They're provided with clean water and food at least once a day.  They're cleaned at least once a day," said McVay.

Dr. McVay says the facilities they have here are similar to those you would find in any other city.

"It's a little disconcerting to know that one person has a grudge against several people, and they're attacking a professional facility," said McVay.

As for how the dogs were being captured, McVay says the Gateway Animal Clinic has nothing to do with the way the animals are brought to these facilities.

"From what I understand, the dog catcher was getting dogs out of people's yards.  I would much rather these animals be with their owners than be here," said McVay.

This has been a point of contention in the area for the past several weeks.  K8 news is told that on Monday the dog catcher in the area resigned his position with the city.