Alcorn supervisors urged to control vicious animals

CORINTH – An Alcorn County woman, who says vicious dogs attack her while she rides her bicycle, wants the county supervisors to consider a leash law.
At the regular county board meeting this week, Janice Scalzo described ongoing encounters along County Road 333 with a large dog – an Akita – that chases her when she rides her bicycle in the area.
Once, Scalzo said, the animal’s owners saw her having trouble with the dog but did nothing. When she asked them to intervene, she said, the female owner got on a motorcycle, stalked and threatened her. Another time, she said, the owner ran up on her from behind in a car.
Scalzo said she felt the only reason she wasn’t hurt was that she had immediately telephoned the sheriff’s office, and had an open line with them as the incident unfolded.
Supervisor Jeff Patterson verified a serious problem with dangerous dogs along County Roads 333, 329 and 325 in his district, saying he knows of at least two Akitas and about 25 pit bulls living on those roads.
In one area, Patterson said, several people are unable to get to their mailboxes because a dangerous and threatening dog is nearby.
Sheriff Charles Rinehart said the sheriff’s office receives frequent calls about the dangerous dogs, but the only recourse people have is to sue the owner of an attacking animal under civil law. There is nothing the law can do as far as criminal charges are concerned.
“Right now, if any animal is on your property causing a problem or destroying something, the only thing you can do is catch the animal, notify the owner and the owner must pay you for damage,” the sheriff said when the board heard a similar complaint in May from R.M. Brooks of County Road 170.
The person who suffers the property damage can’t just kill the animal, the sheriff said, because then the animal’s owner has a basis for a complaint.
In 2007, Justice Court Judge Steve Little asked the board to consider enacting a vicious animal ordinance as the city of Corinth has done.
“We’re going to have to do something,” Patterson said.

Contact Lena Mitchell at (662) 287-9822 or lena.mitchell@djournal.com.

Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal