Thursday, April 27, 2006
County seeks to improve animal control
By SUE WATSON
A new dog pound constructed by the county to house wild or vicious dogs is running over, according to Sheriff Kenny Dickerson.
At a recent meeting of the board of supervisors, Dickerson asked Marshall County Humane Society for clarification on how the county and animal protection groups are going to deal with the problem.
“I thought it was the board’s intent that if we had wild or vicious dogs, we agreed to take them on,” Dickerson said. “But as far as rounding up all stray dogs, the GEO Group wouldn’t have enough space to keep them.
“I want to do what I can, but the board is limited in funding what it would take to pay for it.”
Dickerson said he does not think the county is financially prepared to house all the abandoned and neglected dogs.
District 3 Supervisor Keith Taylor added that the county pound was not intended to receive dumped litters.
“It’s not a problem picking them up, but the problem is to house them,” Dickerson said. “We had it full in one week and could have filled up 10 more (compounds). If we bring in 15 puppies, we need a place for them to go and you all might not be able to accept them.”
Humane Society president Sherry Jannsen said the adoption center is already at capacity and an animal has to leave before another can be accepted.
She introduced Linda Money, adoption coordinator for West Memphis, Ark., and president of Mid-South Animal Rescue League.
Money said she can call other agencies who are already helping each other with animal adoption. No vicious dogs are accepted for adoption.
“I can’t imagine how many calls he (the sheriff) is getting for strays,” she said.
District 5 Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett said the board of supervisors is most concerned about problems with vicious animals and neglected animals.
“That was what we set up the ordinance for and jumped in to get it done,” he said. “I would like to know how the agencies can work together. All the sheriff’s kennel can handle now is vicious dogs.”
Jannsen said Marshall County Humane Society provides help with arranging for spay/neuter services and for animal adoption, but never has enough space to take all the calls for abandoned pets.
The Society only euthanizes sick and injured animals “because we are a Humane Society,” she said.
She said animal control is set up differently with some shelters showing an 80 percent euthanasia rate.
“It is something hard to face, but until we get animal control (it is necessary),” she said.
Taylor said the county should coordinate efforts with adoption groups so the county removes dangerous or vicious dogs and the other agencies handle adoptions.
Money said even with animal shelters all the stray animals are not rounded up.
“We’ll have to have animal control sooner or later,” she said.
Dickerson said the county has to follow the law and must hold animals a required number of days before the animal is euthanized unless the animal is a vicious one and an immediate threat.
Jannsen offered support for the county’s animal control measures.
“No matter what you do, we will back you,” she said. “If your euthanasia rate is high, we support you.”
The Humane Society provides low-cost spay/neuter services. Those who adopt dogs pay $75 to cover the cost for treating for illness, vaccinations and neutering, she said.
Taylor said the county cannot do more with animal control until next budget year.
“It’s a huge step,” said Jannsen. “I’d rather see a dog euthanized than starving on the side of the road.”
Money added that some dogs are more sought after than others and those are usually held for adoption.
Jannsen said for now the Humane Society shows adoptable animals at the adoption center but hopes to get set up to show adoptees on www.petfinders.com.
Road and bridge report
Supervisors passed a motion to require a $60,000 bond and require contractors to follow an approved route to transport rubbish cleared from the airport, at the recommendation of engineer Larry Britt. Language to the effect will be written into the contract. Rubbish will be carried out the south side of the airport over Bicycle Road and then to Highway 178. The bond money will be used to assure that any damage to Bicycle Road is repaired.
The plat of Summer Trail subdivision, including 14 lots, was approved by the board. Mark Anderson is the developer. The subdivision is located at Moore Road and Red Banks Road.
Bids for work on Coldwater River Bridge on Red Banks Road are scheduled to be opened May 15 at 4 p.m.
Supervisors authorized a change order for $23,526 to increase the lengths of box culverts on Phase III Highway 4 Bypass construction.
The money will be used for extra concrete and steel to make the culverts match field conditions, Britt said.
The board approved changing the ordinance on the width of subdivision roads from 20 feet and 5 foot shoulders to 22 feet. The ordinance change will not affect existing subdivision road widths.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked Britt if subdivision roads are inspected before the second 1.5 inches of overlay is put down.
Britt said the county has a bond in place to require contractors to repair pavements that shift, sink and develop pot holes before the last 1.5 inches of paving.
County Administrator Larry Hall suggested that the board not allow subdivision roads to be built in winter when conditions are not favorable for road construction.
Britt agreed. He said soil cement that is not overlayed will not hold up through winter.
Britt agreed to provide language for an ordinance that would prohibit building of subdivision roads during winter months. The county shuts down road construction during winter, Hall said.
“If we can’t do it, there is no way they can,” he said.
The board denied a request from Warren Callicutt to put a 40 foot access road to a lot behind Pine Acres Subdivision, following the recommendation of the planning commission.
Supervisor Keith Taylor made the motion for denial, saying 90 percent of the residents of the subdivision were not in favor of disrupting the existing subdivision to allow the easement to the lot.
The board approved a gated community development on Quinn Road that hopes to attract retirees. Single family units will be built on one-third acre lots.
The board voted to uphold a prior decision to deny a zoning permit to build a pole shed to June Whitehurst of Collierville Meadows subdivision. The Whitehursts said they wanted the shed to cover a boat, lawn mower and other large items that have been sitting out in the weather.
However several residents of the subdivision alleged the Whitehursts were operating a business from the home and six-acre lot and created traffic and noise.
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