Thursday, September 28, 2006
Animal control still issue for Byhalia residents
By SUE WATSON
Three citizens from the Byhalia area presented the board of supervisors with a list of 250 petitioners calling for better animal control in Marshall County.
Peggy Tritinger, spokesperson, said citizens of the county are distressed by many neglected and abandoned animals roaming the streets.
She said they are not affiliated with any organization.
“We are just three senior citizens,” she said.
Tritinger, Ann Lee and Doris Lee said packs of dogs are coming into the yards and attacking pets while they are leashed.
“It is not rare for pets to be attacked by stray animals,” Tritinger said. “In fact, one of us sitting here before you suffered this experience, not once, but twice. This is not an issue that will go away. It should not be ignored. It cannot be swept under the rug as stray and dead animals are visual and ever present among us.”
The Tritingers moved to Marshall County in 1999, but have lived in other states, large cities, and towns as small as Victoria.
“Nowhere have we seen stray animals roaming in packs, as we do here. Nowhere have we seen so many dead animals on the road, as we do here. Nowhere have we seen so many animals starving as we do here,” she said. “Sadly, we have seen no improvement in this situation in these seven years.
“This is an ugly blot on this beautiful county. This is an ugly blot on the character of our county.”
Tritinger said inadequate animal control and lack of ordinances impact the county’s economy far beyond the cost of implementation and enforcement of animal control and protection. (Editor’s note: The county implemented animal control ordinances last year and amended them and published them in The South Reporter on October 20, 2005. Copies are available upon request from the chancery clerk’s office.)
“In order to increase our tax base, we must provide a safe and pleasing environment for prospective businesses and residents,” she said.
Supervisor Keith Taylor said the board budgeted money this year and will have a full-time officer and equipment to go out on calls.
“It is not a fix-all, but I’m proud of what the board has done in the last seven years,” he said. “Now there is somebody you can call effective October 1. We are getting the sheriff’s department to get them picked up.”
Sheriff Kenny Dickerson said he has a jailer who is available to go out anytime to pick up vicious dogs.
“If they are a threat to property, other animals or people, we respond immediately,” he said. “People can call the jail during working hours or if there is an immediate threat, they can call E-911.”
To report abandoned pets or non-vicious animal problems, callers should not tie up the E-911 line, which is for emergencies only, he said.
“We don’t want them to report a dog with a litter of pups on the side of the road to E-911,” he said. “They should call the jail and we will get someone out as soon as we can.”
Last year Dickerson agreed to supervisors building a kennel at the jail and assigned a deputy to answer vicious animal complaints. The board increased the line item in its budget for animal control this year from $20,000 to $55,000, he said.
But supervisors have not decided how to spend that money, according to county comptroller Susie Hill. Meanwhile, the sheriff will continue to provide a deputy to respond to vicious animal calls out of his department budget, she said.
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