Dog Ordinance Causing Overcrowding Issues For One Shelter Added: (2013-12-27 07:44:05)

  • GARLAND COUNTY, AR -- A new ordinance is causing more overcrowding problems for one local animal shelter.

    And, the extra dogs coming in can't be adopted or euthanized.

    The Garland County Quorum Court passed a nuisance-vicious dog ordinance that went into effect in October.

    Before then, if a dog bit or attacked it would be quarantined for no more than ten days.

    Now, the animal stays at the shelter until the owner goes to court....which can take several months.

    Inside the Hot Springs Animal Shelter you'll find dozens of stray and surrendered dogs.

    Most of them will be adopted or euthanized in about a week.

    But some could be there for months waiting on a court date after biting or attacking a person or another pet.

    Animal Services Director Dan Bugg said, "The trial docket is rather lengthy right now. I think the trial docket is running 90 days out right now which means I'm locked down with that dog for 90 days, at least."

    Bugg says since October, some dogs can't leave until a judge decides if they're considered a nuisance or vicious.

    In the meantime, other adoptable dogs are put to death.

    Bugg said, "We are always in that mode, all the time having to pick and choose and euthanizing."

    Miranda Hendricks -- who runs a pit bull rescue organization in Garland County called Strong Paws Dog Rescue -- says the animals are being punished in this lose-lose situation.

    She said, "If the humans are not doing what they should do, than it really changes the whole aspect of how the dog should react."

    She says a dog wouldn't bite or attack if the pet's owner trained it right.

    This alone, Hendricks believes would free up much needed shelter space giving abandoned dogs an opportunity at a happy life.

    "There is no second chance for these dogs. There is no we're going to get them adopted out. It's just we're out of room," Hendricks said.

    Bugg too would like to avoid euthanizing animals, but he says the dog ordinance does help protect people.

    He said, "It's all aimed at making the public a safe place where kids can ride their bikes, a place people can take evening strolls without having to club off a dog."

    Bugg says the county quorum court recently voted on another ordinance.

    With that one, owners can basically "bail" their dogs out of the shelter before their court date.

    To do it though, the owner must pay $500.

    That ordinance will begin in March.

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