Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strays Taking Over Arkansas Town

By Melissa Moon, WREG

The mutilation of a pit bull puppy over the weekend in Helena-West Helena, Arkansas is bringing new attention to a growing problem there.

Animal advocates say strays and neglected animals are taking over the small town.

The problem has gotten so bad dog lovers are now feeding street animals out of their own pockets and caring for the ones they can in their homes.

A nine-week-old pit bull puppy is lucky to be alive after two teens cut off its ears last weekend.

"They tried to crop her ears most likely for pit bull fighting," said Kate Freres with the Humane Society of the Delta.

The Humane Society of the Delta got the dog treated at a vet's office, but has no shelter to keep it in while it recovers and waits to be adopted.

In fact, the director says there is no animal shelter in all of Phillips County to even care for the strays found roaming the streets.

"State law requires when you pick up street dogs you hold them for five days, but we don't have a place to hold them," said Freres.

Two years ago the mayor of Helena-West Helena got some national attention when he released stray dogs the city had been sheltering at its sanitation department into the St. Francis Forest.

The local Humane Society says since then the animals have continued to breed and are now everywhere and are putting everyone at risk.

"Just so many emaciated and sick dogs and they spread disease," said Freres.

Six months ago some animal lovers began a "Meals on Wheels" program to feed them.

People like Leslie Galloway now carry bags of dog food in the cars.

Thursday, it didn't take very long for her to find this pack of dogs.

"I'm a social worker and I go to a lot of neighborhood when I do I usually feed anywhere from 8-10 dogs," said Leslie Galloway.

The Humane Society of the Delta now has a building, but no money to renovate it.

They are trying to get all the surrounding cities and the county to come up with a plan to get the shelter going. They say the sooner the better.

"They are going to keep breeding and the problem is going to get worse," said Galloway.

It will take about $400,000 to get the shelter up and running and they will need more money on top of that for the day to operations.

The local Humane Society has a meeting set up with a Phillips County judge and has also been trying to work the mayor in Helena-West Helena to come with a solution.

For more on the dog problems click on http://www.humansocietyofthedelta.com .

For more on the Meals on Wheels program for dogs go to http://on.fb.me/bvZkCV.

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