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QC addresses vicious dog issue

By Staff, 11/9/18 9:52 AM

PRESCOTT – November’s meeting of the Nevada County Quorum Court showed a lack of both courtesy and professionalism.

At times, justices of the peace ignored Roberts Rules of Order and talked among themselves, though a citizen was addressing the court on an issue important to the Bodcaw community, and when Kolby Harper, deputy prosecuting attorney, attempted to answer a question asked by the court, she was ignored as several members continued speaking to one another loud enough to drown out her answer.

Arval Mason, a former member of the court, was on hand representing the Bodcaw community because of a problem they’re having with vicious dogs. He told the court in one instance dogs attacked the vehicle of a postal worker, attempting to get inside the car to attack her. He said the dogs not only left bite marks on the car, but managed to bite through a tire. The postmaster for the area was contacted and said until the dog problem is corrected, the area where the dogs are won’t be getting mail delivery.

Mason gave other examples, telling of how dogs threatened a woman who was taking out her trash, and how the community fears for the safety of its children because of these animals. He said the owners of these dogs see no problem with the behavior of the animals and, though they have pens for them, allow the dogs to run loose.

He pointed out Prescott has an animal control ordinance, telling the court the Bodcaw City Council also passed a vicious dog ordinance, though not a leash law. Mason said he’s also spoken with Larry Miller, chief deputy with the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office, about the situation. “We don’t need to wait until another child is murdered (by dogs) in the county,” he said, referring to an incident several years ago when a child was mauled to death by a dog.

Mason added there are two different spots where vicious dogs are a problem in the area, and the situation could get worse with hunting season here.

Miller said if anyone is attacked by a dog, they have the right to defend themselves. He added warrants have been issued to the owners of one set of dogs in Bodcaw, but the owners continue to let the dogs run loose. The warrant was for disorderly conduct.

He continued saying a county-wide ordinance would help and suggested the court contact the Association of Arkansas Counties to see what can and can’t be done legally. Miller pointed out the county can’t take possession of such animals as it has nowhere to keep them.

Harper was asked to draft an ordinance and have it ready for a special meeting on Nov. 27 at 4:30 p.m. Prior to that, though, she was asked what the county could do about dogs running loose. As she responded, several members of the court ignored her to speak among themselves.

Mason was also ignored as he offered thanks to the court for taking a proactive step on this situation, again, with members talking to one another instead of listening to a constituent.

Dale Booker, Emmet mayor, said Emmet also has a dog ordinance but has no law enforcement to do anything about dogs running loose because the NCSO can’t enforce city ordinances. He asked all cities in the county be included in the proposed ordinance.

In other business, Nevada County Judge Mark Glass talked about the need to obtain a new trash truck. The county’s newest truck is three years old and its transmission went out two weeks ago. He told the court it would cost $20,000 to repair, but added the county can lease a new truck for three years at $1,519 per month, exchanging it for a new one at the end of the lease period. The court approved the idea.

He also told the court the solid waste department is in financial trouble as its operating on basically the same budget it’s had the past 30 years. He suggested the court look into charging county residents for garbage pickup to help keep the department solvent. The suggested amount was $10 per month that could be paid annually or, for those who don’t pay, included on their property tax bill.

Glass said other counties do something similar adding County Treasurer Susie Key has looked into this. All garbage would be picked up, regardless if the fee is paid, he said, but those who don’t pay will see the fee on their property tax bill and if it isn’t paid then, they won’t be able to license their vehicles.

A budget committee was appointed to begin work on a budget for 2019. The panel consists of Willie Wilson, Herbert Coleman and Bob Cummings, though Glass welcomes all JPs to attend the meetings. The committee’s first meeting will be 10 a.m. Nov. 20.

The extension service building was also discussed. Cummings provided an update saying the former offices of Centurylink are available and the owner wants to sell the property. He told the court County Agent Darren Neal has looked at the building and said it would work. Another option, Glass said, is where the “Barking Barn” is. This property is also available and has a substantial amount of work done to it, including having a new roof put on. Both buildings will be examined for any structural problems.

The court approved giving workers at the Nevada County Jail their holiday pay early this year. All but three people with the jail work during the holidays and can’t take off. They are compensated for their time, but their holiday pay has normally been given to them in January after the holidays. The court approved paying them early, and was reminded this won’t include pay for Christmas as they can’t be paid in advance for time not worked.

Miller, as the meeting was winding up, introduced Justin Hughes as the new jail administrator. Hughes replaces Preston “Pep” Glenn, who recently passed away.

The two new incoming members of the court, Chris Fore and Pat Grimes, were also recognized. They will be sworn in to office in a ceremony in January.