Leader Blues

Monday, June 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>County will look at ban on pit bulls

IN SHORT: Quorum court names six-member committee to develop an ordinance to control vicious dogs and those running in packs.

By JOHN HOFHEIMER
Leader senior staff writer

Lonoke County Quorum Court member Larry Odom Thursday appointed a six-person committee to propose an ordinance to control vicious dogs, including those that run in packs. Cabot is also considering a pit-bull ban.

Lonoke County Sheriff Jim Roberson told the quorum court that his deputies have to respond to dog calls daily and that with area towns and cities prohibiting pit bulls, that a lot of pit bulls are being brought to the county. He said dogs running in packs also create a danger for people and livestock.

Roberson said if a dog at-tacks someone, it is picked up, quarantined, and if it doesn’t have rabies, released back to the owner, who must pay the bite bill. If the dog attacks again, the procedure is repeated. That’s all the authority the county has.
County Judge Charlie Trout-man was away attending the annual meeting of the Arkansas Association of County Judges.

Quorum Court member Janie Troutman, who introduced the dangerous dog discussion, said she didn’t favor a breed specific ban on vicious dogs, saying a Chihuahua could be as dangerous as a pit bull.

That nearly brought Roy Hen-derson, in the gallery, out of his chair. He said dangerous pit bulls live next door to his 6-year-old twins. He said the male pit bull had already attacked another child and implied that he would shoot the dogs if they threaten his granddaughters. He said a cocker spaniel or a Chihuahua could bite your ankles, but that when children are maimed or killed by a dog, it is almost invariably a pit bull.

Odom appointed Henderson, as well as quorum court members Troutman, Alexis Malham, Lynn Clark, Kyle Lackey, Robert Moery and Mike Dolan to the committee to study the dog problem.

County residents living in the fire district covered by the Tri-County Volunteer Fire Department can vote in a special election soon — no date yet set – to have their $45-per-residence annual dues collected automatically with county real estate taxes.
Spokesmen for the department said that only about one in three residents are currently paying the fees.

They said a successful vote would mean that every home would pay, meaning the department could count on a regular budget and upgrade equipment. State law authorized such elections and automatic collection from all at tax time.

Complete and automatic collection “makes a tremendous difference,” Quorum Court member Richard Kyzer, a 10-year veteran on the South Bend Volunteer Fire Department, told the court, particularly in maintenance of the fire trucks and other equipment.

The Tri-County Department, located in the Woodlawn/Oak Grove area, makes about 200 runs a year, the spokesman told the court.