Lack of dog catcher ‘a matter of money’
By Mark Randall firstname.lastname@example.org
Earle will not be getting into the dog catching business any time soon. Mayor Carolyn Jones said the city does not have the money to catch and house stray dogs. “We have always had trouble with dogs for the last 12 or 13 years” Jones said. “I’m worried about dogs too. But I’m not going to build a dog pound. I can hardly maintain what we’ve got in this city.” Roaming dogs are a particular scourge to rural communities like Earle where may of the animals are dumped in the county to fend for themselves. Councilwoman Jimmie Barham said Earle used to have a dog catcher who worked four days a week. But agreed with Jones that just the city doesn’t have the money to hire a dog catcher or build a facility to hold them. “We had to close the pound because of the accessibility to it,” Barham said. “We did not have the money to build one. We didn’t have the money to have a dog catcher. In my opinion, it was a matter of money.” West Memphis and Marion are the only two cities that operate animal shelters. West Memphis spends over $275,000 a year on animal control and about $50,000 just on vet care. Marion spends about $170,000. Crittenden County, on the other hand, spends zero on animal control. The burden of picking up viscous or stray dogs in the county falls to the Sheriff’s Department. There is no money, however, in the sheriff’s budget for animal control. Sheriff Mike Allen in 2012 met with the various mayors in the county to come up with a solution and proposed building a centrally located animal shelter on 32 acres next to the jail. But building an animal shelter would cost about $500,000. So far, nothing has come of the joint proposal. Earle has a viscous dog ordinance requiring animals be kept behind a fence, but no way to really enforce it. “If the city council wants to do it, that’s up to them,” Jones said.