Pit bulls menace rural residents

By PAT BROWN,

Residents report to board that pit bulls are menacing their community neighborhoods and it is time that the county does something about it. 

Keith and Leigh Townsend who live in rural Simpson County on Leona Springs Drive reported to the board they have had issues with pit bull dogs which have recently killed their second family pet.  They live across from where a young victim, was attacked and made statewide news in April, 2014.  It was close to this time when the Townsends lost their first pet. 

The recent attack on Thanksgiving Day claimed the life of their family pet.  Their dog was attacked by a pack of pit bull terriers three of which were adults dogs and five were younger dogs. 

Townsend went to his neighbor, and the man admitted owning one of the dogs and now pens his animal up.  The remaining dogs roam and stalk the neighborhood.

Townsend said the problems have gone on for years and have gotten worse.  Townsend’s wife said she fears the dogs may attack her or children of family who lives nearby.  

Townsend said he had reported the issue to the sheriff’s department and the deputy suggested he should file complaints through the legal system because the county does not have animal control officers or procedures in place for dealing with dangerous animals. 

Supervisor Curtis Skiffer asked Townsend if he had used the legal system.  Skiffer then said, “I am not advocating we go on a dog killing spree.”  He went on to say, “The next move I am going to make is to protect my family.” 

Townsend told the board that he had purchased a pistol but it was not his nature to kill dogs.  He added that “bad people are the ones that have bad dogs in many cases.” 

The board indicated they would try to find a location for the animals if they had to impound them.  Townsend told the board that most of the folks would not admit owning them and there was a claim that the owner had abandoned the dogs and moved.  He said however, they appear as though they are being feed and are healthy. 

Townsend presented the board with statistics as well as ordinances that had been adopted in other communities as possible options.  Other supervisors indicated this was a problem around the county and indicated the need to adopt legislation before there was a fatality in the county.    

The county has indicated their willingness to consider adopting legislation to prevent these kind of future incidents.  

In other business the board approved the re-appointment of Chris Dunn to serve on the board of trustees for Copiah Lincoln Community College. 

The board tabled action to purchase a mini-excavator to assist with bridge replacement issues.  They were awaiting an additional bid. 

The board agreed to issue $25,000 to each of the seven rural fire departments.  This is part of an annual budgeted item that goes toward the operational expenses for the fire departments. 

The board hired an independent audit company to conduct an audit of funds in the sheriff’s department.  There were recent accounting irregularities that surfaced following an audit from the State Auditor’s office.  The board authorized up to $5,400 to be spent to conduct the audit. 

The board acknowledged a pay raise order from the chancery court raising the pay scale for Donna Walker, court administrator, from $56,750 to $59,600.  The funds will come from all counties in the district. 

The county will be closed the following dates; December 24 and 25 for Christmas, Monday December 31 and January 1 for New Year, Monday January 21 for Martin Luther King Day and Robert E. Lee.  The next scheduled meeting of the board is December 14. 

The board approved planned pay raises within the Sheriff’s Department at the request of Sheriff Greg Reynolds.