May 20, 2015 Edition

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Hoxie moving forward with
new animal control ordinance

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

After discussion and citizen input, the Hoxie City Council authorized Mayor Lanny Tinker to write a draft for a new animal control ordinance that would ban specific dog breeds.

Hoxie has been cracking down on animal control and picking up loose dogs, most of which have owners and have been returned. Hoxie also led rescue operations at three houses, each with at least 20 dogs per house.

However, Tinker has announced at multiple public meetings that he feels banning pit bull terriers and related breeds is the best way for the city to go due to a string of recent vicious dog attacks.

Several citizens voiced their concerns about the proposed banning, including Mary Duckworth who provided research data she had collected showing that banning wasn't effective in decreasing dog bites. She also said that pit bull is often a generic term applied to many different breeds when filing dog attack reports.

Alderman Rick Mayland said he understood that sometimes pit bulls get unfairly judged, but he also said he has had bad experiences with pit bull breeds and is personally scared of them.

"Not every vicious dog is a pit bull and not all pit bulls are vicious," Mayland said.

The council discussed that all dogs, especially larger breeds, have the potential to be dangerous but the issue with pit bulls and related breeds is the severity of the attacks when they occur.

Mary Duckworth said that most dog attacks occur when the owner is not there to control their pet or the dog has a history of abuse, according to her research. She said the problem lies not with a specific breed but with irresponsible pet owners.

Other citizens agreed saying they should not be forced to give up their dogs because of others' mistreatment of their animals. Tinker assured these owners that their dogs would be grandfathered in if this ordinance were to pass.

However, it would prevent new pit bulls from being brought into Hoxie and place additional restrictions on pet owners in the city.

Some restrictions discussed were six-foot-high fence, identification by tattooing and requiring spaying and neutering.

Tinker will be creating a draft of the ordinance based on the animal control ordinance used in North Little Rock. Alderman Tim Taylor said he thinks that ordinance is clear and worded well but he does have concerns about how the city would enforce it.

Once the draft is ready and the city attorney reviews it, the council will reconvene, at a special meeting if necessary.

Also at the meeting, Tinker informed the council,

the contract for the former Save-A-Lot property is in the buyer's hands and, if all goes as planned, a new grocery store could be in Hoxie as soon as mid July.

he is looking to hire a full-time fireman to increase fire protection for the city. The council approved adjustments needed to the budget to hire a fireman.

homes along the north side of Midway, which are in the Walnut Ridge city limits, will now receive all their water, sewer and trash pickup needs from Walnut Ridge. Previously, services were split between the cities.

he recommends not having a fall clean up in 2015 due to the cost.

rain has delayed multiple projects the city has planned to do, including work on the alley between Kelly and Carolina and on Pine Street. A complete list of upcoming projects is in the May edition for the Mayor's Report.

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