Dispute boils over near Amory animal shelter

AMORY – A north Amory woman does not understand why the city’s animal control ordinances are not enforced in her neighborhood.

Lea Anne Nix of Old Hwy. 6/Black Cat Bottom Road lives next to the Amory Animal Shelter. But she finds that her yard is overrun with stray animals on a daily basis.

Nix claims that the shelter staff lets the dogs out when they get there each morning and the animals run loose in the neighborhood even though the city has a leash law.

Several times in recent weeks Nix has registered complaints with both the Amory Animal Shelter staff and the Amory Police Department about the stray animals. She said her mother-in-law, Mary Joyce Nix, who lives across from her cannot get out and walk anymore without being harassed by a stray dog that runs loose. She has not been bitten by the dog, but it is frightening her.

Nix said her complaints have seemed to fall on deaf ears. She said no one wants to do anything about it. She said the shelter has more animals than it can handle and they are just letting many of them roam around the outside of the facility and throughout the neighborhood.

Terri Tucker, director of the Amory Animal Shelter, said that the problem lies with Nix. She said that Nix has continued to put food out for the stray cats and dogs and that she is a “hoarder” of cats.

Tucker said she has documentation dating all the way back to December, 2008, of instances when she had dealings with Nix. “Lea Anne wanted me to get rid of the cats and we set traps for them across from her house.”

Tucker said the traps were always tampered with and the animals were always let loose.

Nix admits that she has rescued several of the stray cats that have shown up on her doorstep, paying to have them spayed or neutered and for flea treatment. She currently has about 14 cats of her own that she tends to as pets, although Tucker said Nix has about 34 cats. Nix said she does not dislike the Amory Animal Shelter director Terri Tucker, but she dislikes the practice that they are doing of letting animals run loose and become nuisances and even being neglected and harmed.

Nix said her neighbor is shooting the stray dogs and that it’s a danger to her and her family to have him firing at them within the city limits.

Nix’s yard has also become a dumping ground so to speak as it is full of animal feces. A neighbor who has all sorts of barnyard animals from a goat to ducks, turkeys, chickens, and geese, also does not confine his animals to his property and they roam Nix’s property.

Another of Nix’s neighbors, Gary Bowen, said he keeps his dogs in a pen but yet he has stray animals all over his yard all the time.

Nix said she had paid the Tupelo animal shelter about $200 to take about 18 cats in the past just to get them out of her yard. She said she also spends a lot of money on pet food, animal insect repellants and for spaying and neutering animals.

Last Friday the matter came to a head when the Amory Police Department showed up and five cats were seized that belonged to Nix.

Nix said the cat roundup last week was what Tucker said was a start on “cleaning up the neighborhood.”

“So they started by taking my cats,” Nix said. “They think I’m calling the law too much so this is what they did.”

Tucker admits that the Amory Animal Shelter is too full. “We’re having to give them away,’ she said about the pets. “We’ve sent some (cats) to a horse barn in Nettleton.

“We consider her (Nix) an extension of us and she was helping us to not have to euthanize animals,” Tucker said.

The Amory shelter formerly had holding pens available outside the shelter for people to leave animals during nights and weekends, but they have since locked these cages. Tucker said the shelter is not a place for people to just dump animals.

Tucker also said efforts have been made to catch the stray dog that is bothering Mrs. Nix when she is out walking. “This animal is not in my possession,” she said.”I went down with a dart gun to get that dog that follows her.”

Tucker said there are too many animals for the shelter to accommodate. She said they mainly only euthanize animals because of illness such as parvo.

Animal Control Ordinance

The city of Amory has an animal control ordinance which states that it is unlawful for people to have animals loose in the city. A portion of that ordinance is shown below:

SECTION 2. Control or Protection of Animals in General. It shall be unlawful for any person to:

A. Permit any animal to run at large within the corporate limits of the City.

B. Carry out any inhumane treatment against any animal.

C. Keep or harbor any animal(s) which by loud, frequent or habitual barking, howling, yelping or other noise or action, disturbs any person or neighborhood within the corporate limits of the City.

Persons violating the city’s animal ordinance can be fined $100 to $1,000.

Chris Wilson/Monroe Journal