Phase two planning for Vicksburg animal shelter approved after dog attacked woman

Published 1:06 pm Friday, July 23, 2021

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen approved a motion to move to phase two planning of the new animal shelter, conceptional design, at the donated property on 4845 U.S. Highway 61 South in Friday’s board meeting.

South Ward Alderman Alex Monsour, Jr. said this is not just a matter of animal safety, but also human safety. Monsour said he received an email from a constituent who was attacked by a dog in Vicksburg within the last few weeks. According to him, she was cutting grass, opened her gate and then the dog attacked her. While Monsour said he doesn’t know the details beyond that, he does know that his number one job is to protect the taxpayers.

“Under animal control, the number one thing we are supposed to do is protect the public from vicious animals,” Monsour said.

Monsour said there are city ordinances regarding animals, and the city has been relaxed on some of them. He said this will no longer be the case regarding vicious animals, as it is a matter of public safety.

“We are going to do what is right for these animals, but we are also going to protect people from this happening with these vicious animals,” Monsour said. “When [attacks] do happen, we will address it by the ordinance. We are going to follow the law, and I expect the people that own these pets to follow the law, too.”

Monsour said he thinks everyone needs to do themselves a favor and review the ordinances in Vicksburg regarding animals.

In section 4-1 of the animals and fowl ordinances, a vicious animal is defined as an animal which has previously bitten or attacked anyone, or an animal which its owner knows could have the tendency to attack or bite. Section 4-2C states it is unlawful for anyone to keep a vicious animal within the city, and any animal found off the premises may be seized and killed if necessary.

If a dog has bitten someone, it is to be reported within 24 hours, and the animal will be confined for a period of observation. If it is found to be too vicious to be impounded safely, the animal may be killed and shipped to the state laboratory for rabies examination, according to Section 4-3.

Monsour said this is the side that people don’t want to talk about regarding the necessity for an animal shelter quickly, but it is an important one because it affects public safety.

“That lady could have very well died from this, so it’s time to address both sides,” Monsour said. “If they want to criticize me for protecting the public but we are also protecting the pets then so be it.”

Monsour said he has seen the donated building that was so graciously given for the animal shelter, and it is adequate for what is needed.

“There are three things that we need to remember,” Monsour said. “We are moving to protect the animals, we are moving to have a safe and secure location and we are moving also to give them humane treatment by giving them enough space where we don’t have to worry about running out of room. That’s what we are looking for.”

Monsour said for both human and animal safety, the city needs to move forward into phase two. Phase two is the stage when the board will find out the costs and determine the design of the building. He said this will be the stage where they decide if the current plan will work and that they can afford the shelter at this location.

It is our responsibility to move forward to the next stage because without moving forward, we cannot get to resolution on this,” Monsour said.