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City receives input on animal control issue


LADONIA - The Ladonia City Council has tabled an item addressing concerns over the abundance of stray dogs in the city after hearing from several citizens during an open forum Monday night.

City officials are looking to formulate a comprehensive plan that will offer an effective method and program for unrestrained, loose or stray dogs.

Glenn Wolfe started the discussion by reminding residents that the purpose of the plan is “for the dogs” and that everyone needs to lend a helping hand. He proposed the city attack the issue neighborhood by neighborhood, and then bringing each dog to a central location for holding.

Citizens suggested pet owners be licensed and be issued a ticket should their dog be observed running loose.

“You have a city ordinance against stray dogs. Why isn’t it enforced? You have a police officer. He can write tickets,” commented Ladonia citizen Jim Rook.

Mayor Jan Cooper and Councilman Cliff Isaacs confirmed there is an ordinance on the books. But Police Chief Kevin Mayberry said that if no one admits ownership and he can’t confirm the dog is theirs, he can’t write a ticket.

Chris Porter added, “I’ve lived in the county all my life. The stray dogs we have problems with in this town are not the ones that all of us own, it’s all the ones that all of the flatlanders drop off because they don’t want to take to the pound. So who are you going to write the ticket to? Write to the dog? The dog isn’t going to do anything.”

“You can’t ticket the dog no one will admit ownership. They will have to have a license before we can do that,” replied Glenn Wolfe.

Some blamed the problem on a lack of education among pet owners, while others cited funding constraints.

Pamela Lynn is affiliated with the Commerce Humane Society and says that non-profit organizations such as theirs may be willing to take the dogs. They would need donations.

A possible solution was presented as part of the city’s regular council session following the open forum.  

Ladonia Volunteer Fire Department Chief Kyle Stark proposed his crew assume responsibility for setting traps, catching and then housing the stray dogs in the City Barn. It would then be incumbent upon the city to transport the animals to another facility or shelter.  

Councilwoman PK Kirkpatrick responded, “That would take an awful lot off the City Secretary of people with a problem could call the fire department directly. And they have not one person but several volunteer firemen that would be available to handle the problem of getting the dogs picked up and put into the City Barn.“

A fee would accompany the service.  

Cliff Isaacs noted, “I just can’t justify this $10 [per dog] when one of our guys picks it up and takes it to Commerce it’s just $15.... They catch ten dogs that’s $100.”

“That’s ten dogs off Ladonia streets,” Kirkpatrick said.  

Mayor Cooper then replied, “There again it goes back to donations from citizens.”

Citizen Kimberly Corbin had previously expressed a need for citizens to donate, even suggesting throwing in an extra $1 on the water bill toward the animal control service.

“It’s up to us that live in this town. The ones that are tired of seeing the trash strung all over the town. In a lot of communities the town people meet together. It’s not just one person doing it it’s everybody,” Corbin said.

VFD Chief Stark said citizens could call their office at anytime to request the service, should the council sign off on the idea.

The City Council elected to table the item until their March meeting to have more time to discuss amongst themselves and possibly consider other options.