Jackson City Council debates how to combat feral dogs

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Jackson City Council is looking for a way to control dogs in the city after recent attacks at the zoo.

One idea brought up in the city council meeting was being more lenient with Jackson’s euthanization law.

However, one local animal shelter is against that idea.

“Is there an economical way to euthanize animals in a humane way.”

That was a topic brought up in Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

The discussion came after an update on the Jackson Zoo, following last month’s incident where six wild dogs got into the gates and harmed some of the animals.

“These are not what I would call wild dogs, they’re feral. They’re healthy enough- they’re not killing these animals to eat them. They’re killing them for fun,” Beth Poff, the Executive. Director of Jackson Zoo, said.

Poff says this is the eighth time feral dogs have gotten into the zoo.

But Valerie Hicks, with the Community Animal Rescue and Adoption Center says she doesn’t like the idea of euthanizing dogs quicker.

“We get fearful dogs. We take our time with them and work slowly with them. To say we get a feral dog. I can’t say we’ve seen a feral dog come into CARA,” Hicks said.

Right now, there is an eight day waiting period. If an animal is not picked up by its owner, it becomes city property.

But, that waiting period is waived for vicious, feral animals or animals suffering from an incurable disease.

“Personally i would like to see them stay in a shelter,” Hicks said.

In 2015, 1,305 dogs were picked up by animal control, 850 of them were euthanized.

In Tuesday’s city council meeting,  Animal Control Manager Paul Perry stated 85% of their calls are because of irresponsible pet owners.

“Reverse that, 85 percent of our enforcement will be going for these feral dogs and stray dogs. Then we’ll be focusing on those dogs,” Perry said.

One idea that both CARA and animal control agreed with is pet owners keeping a better eye on their pets.

CARA adds dogs should have a collar and tag, and getting your pets microchipped will help if they do get loose at some point.

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