Holding Pet Owners Responsible in Paragould

Paragould, AR --  "If they are going to have animals than they need to be responsible for the encounters people have with those animals," said Paragould resident Kim Smith.

Mayor Mike Gaskill and Paragould aldermen are hard at work on a vicious animal ordinance.

The ordinance wouldn't ban animals but it does mandate strict guidelines and regulations and possible penalties for pet owners.

"It's about personal responsibility and trying to protect the public," said Gaskill.

This ordinance does not just refer to dogs.

"It's references any pet someone might have in their home, from lions and leopards to cobras and crocodiles.

"You might look at this and think that's ridiculous that someone would bring a lion home and it very well may be, but what this does is open the door so we don't have to come back and amend this thing so that we can add a particular animal," said Gaskill.

"It will protect them if they have a serious injury because of one of these animals.  There is something to take care of those medical bills," said Paragould Police Department Patrol Captain, Todd Stovall.

For example, the ordinance says owners, keepers or harborers of registered pit bulls or wolf hybrids must acquire at least 100,000 dollars in liability insurance and must be able to prove they are insured at all times.

"I hope it heightens their awareness and makes them a  better owner understanding that these dogs and other animals have the potential to cause serious damage," said Stovall.

This vicious animal ordinance has not been taken in front of the council to be considered for passage.

Gaskill does say that it gives the city a good starting point.....

"We've actually got something on paper that we can look at and decide is this what we want. Do we want to add to that or take from it," said Gaskill.