January 13, 2010 Edition

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Mayor's actions save dog, puppies

Mayor Michelle Rogers checks on coon dog "Mamma Dog," and her eight puppies that were born Jan. 6 at the Gateway Animal Clinic. Dog and puppies saved by mayor's actions
TD Photo ~ Shantelle Prater
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

It takes an intelligent person to serve as mayor for a town of almost 5,000 residents, but it takes an extraordinary one to devote her time to saving forgotten and abandoned animals.

A local resident reported to City Hall officials that a blue-tick hound had been dumped near their residence. Officials responded and transferred the dog to the Gateway Animal Clinic in Walnut Ridge, which shelters impounded dogs for up to five days.

The dog, pregnant and starved, got the attention of Mayor Michelle Rogers who contacted the Northeast Arkansans for Animals, located in Jonesboro. Thanks to her concern, the dog, now known as "Mamma Dog," and her eight puppies will find loving homes.

The act of dumping dogs is rapidly increasing in Lawrence County, said Mayor Rogers. There are no specific guidelines or punishment for this action, but Mayor Rogers hopes to change that.

"A very low percentage of people come to Gateway Animal Clinic in search of their lost dog. Walnut Ridge needs stricter laws for pet owners to help control the situation," said Mayor Rogers.

"There will never be enough facilities or funding to help all the animals, but the first solution is for pet owners to spay or neuter their pets."

Mayor Rogers and the Gateway Animal Clinic would like to establish a system to help the dogs and give people the opportunity to adopt the animals brought to the clinic.

"There is limited space for the dogs at the clinic, but the staff has been great to work with in finding homes for the dogs," Mayor Rogers said.

"They are especially wonderful if I ask them to keep the dogs longer than five days."

Financially, the city can only afford to keep a dog for five days before being euthanized. Mayor Rogers and several Lawrence County residents have provided personal funds to allow the animals to stay longer in search of a home.

"Dogs are like people," Rogers said. "I have two of my own and each have two very different personalities. Dumping your dog is not the answer."

Dumping dogs may increase as the economy continues to be unstable.

"I want people to know if they are having problems with their animals, such as needing a dog house or funds to provide the dog food, please contact me and I'll do what I can," Rogers advised.

Residents in need can contact the Mayor's Office. Also, residents who would like to donate to the cause can contact Mayor Rogers or the Gateway Animal Clinic.

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