Oxford’s shelter handles burden of Panola animals 9/17/2013

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Oxford’s shelter handles burden of Panola animals

By Rupert Howell
Panola supervisors learned last week that more animals are surrendered to the Oxford-Lafayette Animal Shelter from Panola County than from the City of Oxford.

Speaking on behalf of the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, Jennifer Peterson told Panola County’s board  that 669 animals from Panola were taken in during 2012.

That number was only exceeded by Lafayette County with 1,380. The City of Oxford brought 629 animals to the facility and Yalobusha County brought 481 of the total 4,411 animals taken in according to figures presented by Peterson.

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She also provided figures that revealed Panola County might have been charged $68,559.60 for impoundment fees but only asked for consideration when the the next budget session was planned.

Supervisor Board President Kelly Morris assured Peterson that Panola County is looking at the problem telling her that supervisors are working on an ordinance.

“We know we have a problem in Panola County. We are trying to find a solution… We might can help financially,” he said.

Supervisors in July looked at an extensive proposed Dangerous Dog Ordinance presented by sheriff’s deputy Bobby Billingsley who acts as animal control officer for that department.

He is quick to explain that his duties are not that of ‘dogcatcher’—he is called when animals threaten the life or safety of citizens. He looks at the ordinance as an enforcement tool that will hold dangerous dog owners accountable with substantial consequences. And that’s all, Billingsley said.

Billingsley’s plan defines dangerous dogs, and states registration requirements including a minimum of $100,000 of homeowner’s liability insurance.

The proposed policy also recommends fines and jail time to dangerous dog owners who violate the ordinance while giving the sheriff’s office enforcement authority.

“We’re not going to ride around looking for stray dogs,” Billingsley told The Panolian and noted that the ordinance will not affect animals whose owners obey the law.

Board president Morris said earlier, “There are a lot more things to take care of before we consider this ordinance, but we have got to put something in place to take care of this.”
Morris was talking about a proper place to house dangerous animals.