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Grayson council discusses dog attack

Issue drives home need for animal control plan

By Jeremy D. Wells

Carter County Times

A pair of pit bulls that escaped their yard, attacking and killing another pet in Grayson last month, have brought the need for a comprehensive animal control plan before city council once again.

Council members in Grayson and Olive Hill have long been at odds with the county over the duties of the county’s animal control officer. The county says they only have a mandated duty to offer the cities access to the county animal shelter. They say they aren’t required to provide animal control officer duties to the two cities, and can only do so if the cities enter into a reciprocal agreement with them – an agreement that includes a commitment to cover a portion of the food and healthcare costs for the animals.

The cities, however, insist they are a part of the county, and their residents pay county taxes, therefore they are also entitled to the services of county employees like the dog warden.

Grayson mayor Troy Combs has discussed the issue with judge executive Brandon Burton, and possible plans have been discussed, but council has been reluctant to approve any of those plans.

The city did add kennel runs to the street department building this spring.

That move came after video footage of another pet attack was presented to council in February. During that discussion residents noted they were not aware the street department had been authorized to pick up and transport strays or dangerous animals to the county animal shelter.

Council took that move last year during another discussion of the problem.

The street department noted during the February meeting, however, that they didn’t have facilities to hold animals, so they could only do pick up and transport at times when the shelter was open. Since adding the kennels, the department has held several dogs temporarily – mostly strays or abandoned pets that didn’t pose a significant risk to the street department staff or others.

That changed with last month’s attack, however.

Those dogs were both very aggressive, the street department’s Damon Robinson noted. Though the street department was able to subdue and contain the animals, police chief Tony Cantrell recommended waiting for police assistance in the future in cases of vicious animals.

Robinson noted that the dogs were eventually returned to their owner, at the order of the police, with orders for the for the owner to quarantine them for at least ten days.

Charges have also been filed against the owner for harboring dangerous dogs, Cantrell added.

News of the attack, though, prompted further discussion of the city’s need for effective animal control.

Councilman Terry Stamper, who previously recommended accepting the county’s suggested flat fee and renegotiating the per animal fee, asked council if they were ready to consider the county’s plan now, but none of the council members made a motion to that effect.

Contact the writer at editor@cartercountytimes.com

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