Lafayette considers animal ordinance

By Errol Castens

Daily Journal

OXFORD – A Lafayette County supervisor urged his colleagues to consider adopting an ordinance concerning vicious and nuisance animals.

Supervisor Chad McLarty offered a draft based on DeSoto County’s ordinance.

“This is something I want y’all to take a look at,” he said. “We’ve had several taxpayers come to us – several at this board meeting months ago – and I think we need to act on it.”

Among other provisions, the ordinance would enable law enforcement officers to impound, place for adoption or humanely destroy any injured, neglected or abandoned animal.

It defines a vicious animal as one that, among other traits, exhibits unprovoked threatening behavior or attacks a human (except in justified defense) or is trained or bred for fighting. Microchip identification, registration with the Humane Society and secure confinement would be required to own a vicious animal, with prominent signs warning of the vicious animal’s presence.

The draft ordinance identifies nuisance animals as those that molest passersby or passing vehicles, attack other animals, trespass, repeatedly run at large, damage property, make excessive noise, frequently relieves itself on property not belonging to its owner or becomes a nuisance to people or other animals.

As written, the ordinance would give discretion to the Sheriff’s Department to destroy immediately any feral or vicious animal if required for safety. If the animal can be impounded, the owner would be notified to make his case for its return in Justice Court.

Sheriff F. D. “Buddy” East said he doesn’t want “to get in the dog collecting business” but that officers need more tools for rare cases where vicious animals make people afraid to let their children or pets outside.

errol.castens@journalinc.com