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By CARL SMITH
The Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing regarding the development of a countywide vicious animal ordinance at 10 a.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13, in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.
Board President Marvell Howard said supervisors are already close to finishing a draft of the ordinance and should be able to vote on the matter in its recess meeting Sept. 15.
â€śWeâ€™re probably 95 percent complete with developing a vicious animal ordinance,â€ť he said. â€śWe intentionally havenâ€™t finished it so we can get input during the public hearing. Unless major changes need to take place after we receive public input, I think we should be ready to move forward.â€ť
Howard said he did not want to release specifics about the resolutionâ€™s draft, but he said it does include specific language which will define what constitutes a vicious animal. He said the definitions would classify an animal as vicious if it attacks a person or demonstrates an outward, aggressive demeanor.
â€śItâ€™s going to have several different things. If an animal does one of those things, (including attacking a person), it will be classified as such,â€ť Howard said. â€śWe do need to specify if a dog is protecting an ownerâ€™s property, then itâ€™s not vicious.â€ť
District 2 Supervisor Orlando Trainer said the potential ordinance would put the responsibility of an aggressive animal on the ownerâ€™s shoulders.
â€śIn my mind, I think a vicious animal is one that is basically uncontrollable to the point it doesnâ€™t have obedience or respect of command from its owner,â€ť Trainer said. â€śIf a dog is uncontrollable, then its owners cannot calm or restrain it.â€ť
On Sunday, Trainer said the potential ordinance could enter the county into a formal, working agreement with Starkville Animal Control. This working relationship, he said, would take the burden of handling vicious animal cases off of the Oktibbeha County Sheriffâ€™s Department.
Supervisors have discussed the need for a vicious animal ordinance since an Aug. 13 mauling injured two children. Deputies were dispatched to 2796 Self Creek Road that day after a 911 call was placed. The caller, Katie Riehle, told dispatchers her children had been bitten by a neighborâ€™s dogs.
When deputies arrived, they found two children, ages 4 and 10 years old, with multiple injuries. Both children were transported to Oktibbeha County Hospital, and the oldest was later transported to Jacksonâ€™s University Medical Center.
A deputy shot and killed a pit bull which approached him in an aggressive manner after the attack. Rich McKee, a member of Starkville Animal Control, was dispatched to the scene and took custody of four other pit bulls.
Three of the pit bulls were scheduled for euthanization yesterday, but a scheduling conflict postponed the procedure to today, McKee said.