County needs means to control dangerous dogs 9/17/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2013

County needs means to control dangerous dogs

By Rupert Howell
For years now Panola County has been batting about what to do with stray animals—especially dogs.

An agreement between the City of Batesville and Panola County to build a humane shelter got lost in politics and Panola County’s Human Society has now moved to an adoption plan that has local volunteers fostering dogs and puppies until they are vaccinated, fixed and meet requirements to be shipped to areas far away where there is evidently a shortage of adoptable canines.

Meanwhile, vicious dog complaints have increased to the point that animal control officer Bobby Billingsley predicts more problems as, “Bad dog attacks are on the rise for both children and adults . . . practically everyday.”

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Billingsley said he hopes that registration and fines  would offset enforcement costs of a dangerous dog ordinance he has recommended to supervisors.

Billingsley said the proposed ordinance, now in the hands of supervisors, is a combination of 12 different ordinances addressing vicious dogs. He has obviously studied the issue in depth.
Many of us are guilty and may not realize it. We really don’t know the whereabouts of  our “sweet, lovable” yard dogs by day or the wee hours of morning when they may roam or pack while reverting to a more primitive lifestyle  detrimental to cattle and critters (and maybe humans) alike.

Billingsley assured supervisors that even owners of dangerous dogs who act responsibly and follow the law will be only slightly affected if the proposed ordinance is passed.

There is no doubt that spaying or neutering of pets is the best solution to an overpopulation of unwanted animals. Logistics and nature make that solution improbable in full, but it is an area where all responsible pet owners can participate.

Meanwhile, adoption of a dangerous or vicious dog ordinance with implementation of enforcement, and adequate impoundment facilities when needed should be a priority before some child or unsuspecting adult is mauled or maimed.