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Animal control ordinance implementation report expected

Posted: December 27, 2013 - 3:51pm

A Quorum Court committee will hear an update in January on the implementation of the newly passed animal control ordinance in Faulkner County.

The ordinance, which is relatively strict for the unincorporated parts of Faulkner County, was passed a little over one month ago.

Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Matt Rice said though officers have been able to respond to animal control calls with written citations and penalties, the volume hasn’t been as high as expected.

Rice reported a spike right after the ordinance was passed in late November.

Justice of the Peace Randy Higgins, chair of the courts and public safety committee who has worked for about a year crafting the ordinance, said there was some final discussion the night of the Quorum Court meeting with pushback from hunters who use dogs.

“It’s not a leash law. That particular clause would not apply to them. They weren’t comfortable, and after talking to about a dozen people I assured them that would cover it,” Higgins said.

The clause Higgins refers to describes “at large” animals as dogs not under direct control of the owner when off the premises of its owner’s real property and not under adequate supervision.

“We added an amendment that says as long as people are using the dogs for hunting, there would be an exception to that part of the animal control ordinance,” Higgins said.

Higgins said in the northern parts of Faulkner County, there are residents who use hunting dogs to track coyotes and foxes, or who “run the dogs” for pleasure.

Another response Higgins said he has gotten has been from residents in incorporated parts of Faulkner County in cities like Greenbrier and Vilonia.

“People who live in municipalities like Greenbrier and Vilonia have said no one is enforcing the ordinance,” Higgins said.

The animal control ordinance is only for unincorporated parts of Faulkner County, and each city’s ordinances govern inside city limits.

Rice said deputies have responded to nuisance dogs after people have reported them on their property.

He didn’t have exact numbers Friday but said a report would be ready for the January committee meeting.

The ordinance that was enacted calls for impoundment of domestic animals found at large in Faulkner County, the issuance of fines for domestic animal owners who do not control their animals, and rabies vaccination requirements.

Vicious animal clauses address liability, containment and rabies.

Owners of diseased or injured animals left untreated may be cited under the ordinance.

A person found guilty of first level violations will be ordered to pay a fine of $50 plus restitution for any damages caused by the animal in a first offense.

Second offenses are $200 plus restitution, and third offenses are $500 plus restitution at the first level violation.

Second level violations at the first offense starts at $500 plus restitution and goes to $1,000.

Additionally, the convicting court may order that an animal be humanely destroyed.

Nuisance animals are considered in the level one violation, and level two violations are considered if a person owns or keeps an animal that by the owner’s negligence attacks a person and causes harm or fear.

The courts and public safety meeting is January 14 at the Faulkner County Courthouse.

The committee members are Justices Higgins, Chris Bills, Damon Edwards and Barbara Mathes.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by email at courtney.spradlin@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236, or on Twitter @Courtneyism. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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357
1605
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357 12/28/13 - 04:46 pm
2
1

I have to admit I was

I have to admit I was skeptical when I first read about the ordinance. After reading the ordinance and calling and talking to Justice Higgins I understand it is not a county leash law but rather a law that tries to hold dog owners responsible for their dogs.

rathjen
667
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rathjen 12/28/13 - 06:32 pm
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1

.

Well done Randy Higgins.

faulknerwatchdog
580
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faulknerwatchdog 12/28/13 - 10:32 pm
1
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Good luck locating the owners

Good luck locating the owners of dead or injured dogs. Not a fan of this ordinance; not a fan at all.

357
1605
Points
357 12/29/13 - 08:59 am
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Just curious as to what you

Just curious as to what you don't like. Its obvious we have too many dogs running loose in the county.. What recourse would you suggest.

faulknerwatchdog
580
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faulknerwatchdog 12/29/13 - 06:15 pm
1
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First of all: we move out to

First of all: we move out to the unincorporated sections of the county so we aren't heavily regulated like the town-dwellers.

2: A responsible animal owner will vaccinate their pets against rabies, law or no law. Irresponsible ones won't care for, or use collars and tags, on their pets, law or no law.

3: This ordinance is essentially toothless, meaning, how are you going to cite the owners of a stray dog?

angryrepublican
109
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angryrepublican 12/29/13 - 04:21 pm
0
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Just curious

Who said there's too many dogs in the county? Explain a situation this law fixes.

Haughtyhorse
89
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Haughtyhorse 12/29/13 - 05:25 pm
2
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Strays and cruelty cases

The ordinance does no good without a shelter to house the animals if seized. The SPCA houses and provides medical care and rehabilitative services for all the cruelty and neglect cases in the county without compensation. The Humane Society offers low cost spay and neuter. Maybe they would help with strays if people would pitch in and help financially or physically instead of paying a tax that will never be used properly. The county should sign contracts with them to handle the animal control. They are all volunteer and would be very cost effective. The SPCA has a rescue vehicle now so that's even less cost for the county.

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