Port Gibson taking action against dogs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 14, 2000

Port Gibson officials said today is the day they will begin taking action against packs of wild or seemingly ownerless dogs.

Although supported by some residents of the Claiborne County town, other residents are upset by the action.

“We are appalled at this,” said Nancy Wilhite, a member of the group opposing the town’s action.

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The problem, said City Attorney Melvin McFatter, is at least two packs of dogs have taken up residence in downtown Port Gibson.

“They are very aggressive,” McFatter said.

In response to complaints from residents, town officials decided to enforce a state law and a city ordinance that allows law enforcement officials to pick up and hold free-roaming and collarless dogs. The laws require the officer to keep the dogs for at least five days and to make an attempt to find the owner. After that, the dogs may be destroyed.

“Under the city ordinance, the police chief is designated the dog catcher,” he said.

McFatter said he knows, personally, of one pack of five or six animals that roams around Market Street, Port Gibson’s main business district.

Trish Barnes, a resident of Church Street, said she’s been dealing with a pack of dogs and their insect aftermath since July.

The pack took up residence under her home in July before finally being evicted. They brought with them fleas that have caused health problems for Barnes and her daughter, she said.

“The Terminix man said it was the worst infestation of fleas he’s ever seen,” Barnes said.

“We are very glad the city is taking some action,” she said.

McFatter said officials intend to take action against only the aggressive dogs. They have no intention of scooping up and killing anyone’s pets, he said.

Wilhite said she and others have spoken with town officials about the dog situation and have asked they explore less drastic solutions.

“We have asked them to help us find a piece of land for a sanctuary,” Wilhite said.

She agreed there are dogs that roam around Port Gibson, but said it is false to say they are aggressive.

“We feed probably 200 of them a day,” Wilhite said.

“We have asked them to look at four or five alternatives. There has to be a peaceful and humane solution,” she said.