John Howell’s column

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 15, 2010

Stray dog problems increasing; support present for control

Some minutes of at least two meetings of mayors and aldermen of Panola municipalities this month have been consumed by elected officials pondering what to do about stray dogs.

In Batesville, the mayor is chafing after failing to deliver on an campaign promise he made five years ago. At first, it looked like he would be successful as the county signed on for a joint project to build an animal shelter. Then the project fell by the wayside when budgets got cut and projections for operating costs rose.

Now, after continued pressure from members of the Panola County Humane Society, city leaders are again talking about approaching county supervisors to try to restart the joint project.

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Meanwhile, Como citizens who voiced concerned about the number of stray dogs roaming their town’s streets heard their police chief say that he had no facilities or equipment for animal control.

 Outside and inside Panola municipalities, complaints of stray and, occasionally, vicious animals are increasing as irresponsible owners allow dogs and cats to remain fertile with little regard to what happens to large numbers of offspring.

If united into one effort, there is enough support for finding a better solution to the problem — certainly better than what is not being done now — if two things can happen.

First, elected officials have to find the backbone to spend taxpayer money for it in the face of criticism for cutting back in other areas.

Second, animal lovers will have to settle for considerably less than the well-funded facility we see in Lafayette County. It just won’t happen here. Not yet. But we’ve got to start somewhere.