December 23, 2015 Edition

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Dog ordinance approved in WR

Megan Heyl
Staff Writer

The Walnut Ridge City Council held the third and final reading of the new dog ordinance at Monday's meeting. Several Walnut Ridge citizen's showed their support for the ordinance, which passed unanimously.

The only point of contention was that it would not take effect immediately, a particular concern for Marion McDaniel who spoke about a "vicious" dog he had made several calls to the police about and was told it could not be picked up by current ordinance.

The dog in question, McDaniel reported, has forced his mother to remain indoors due to its show of aggression and has come within two feet of biting.

Chief Chris Kirksey confirmed that officers have reported to the scene multiple times in response to calls. Once the new ordinance is in effect, animal control will have a stronger presence in Walnut Ridge, but a minimum 30-day period from the ordinance's final reading is required to allow dog owners time to get into compliance.

The ordinance sets registration fees, housing regulations, vaccination and care requirements and leash laws, amongst other dog-related issues.

While not breed specific, the ordinance has a section on dogs deemed vicious requiring a public liability insurance policy. Mayor Charles Snapp said that any dog, big or small, that shows aggression could be deemed vicious.

Alderman Jeff Taylor said he has heard concerns about how the passing of this ordinance will affect the community surrounding Walnut Ridge. Concerns about an increase in dumping dogs outside of Walnut Ridge or residents choosing to house their "vicious" dogs in other communities could result from the passing of this ordinance.

Snapp said with every action there is a reaction, and he has been in contact with Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker, Black Rock Mayor Bonnie Ragsdale and County Judge Dale Freeman throughout this process and is still open to partnering with them or other Lawrence County municipalities on the dog shelter being established in Walnut Ridge.

"I'd rather be proactive and take the lead for Walnut Ridge," Snapp said.

In other business, the council:

passed on ordinance regulating bucket brigade type solicitation, requiring certain safety measures and limiting fundraisers to one per 501 (c)(3) organization per year. A permit is required for all collections, and applications must be submitted at least 60 days in advance.

voted to settle city debts in the amount of $18,850.83 for a WRPD 2014 Dodge Charger and $113,887.28 to Arkansas Public Employees Retirement System, which represents retirement plans for district court judges and clerks. Snapp said the payment of these will save the city some interest and the city has had a strong enough year financially to settle these debts and still be over $60,000 up from last year going into 2016.

passed an ordinance officially renaming Vulcan Street to Compulast Street.

discussed how to handle increases in landfill fees. See related story in this week's print edition.

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