In the wake of three recent dog attacks south of Starkville, the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors is looking into measures to help control dangerous animals.
District 5 Supervisor John Young Monday said he is “very concerned” by the handful of attacks over the past three weeks on farm animals in his district. He plans to research dangerous dog laws and ordinances in different counties and municipalities around the state, including Starkville.
No leash laws or dangerous dog laws exist in Oktibbeha County outside Starkville city limits.
“This is something we”re going to have to address immediately,” Young said after the Board of Supervisors met Monday morning in the Oktibbeha County Courthouse.
The most recent attack occurred Aug. 12 off Chapel Hill Road, when a couple reported seeing three dogs, including at least one pit bull, after the animals killed one goat and injured two others on their property.
The attack occurred less than three weeks after two separate attacks at nearby Mactoc Farm on July 25.
The first attack occurred during the early morning hours of July 25, when four calves were killed and more than a half-dozen were injured. The property”s owners reported seeing two dogs during the initial attack.
The dogs returned the night of July 25 with two others and the group killed a fifth calf before a family friend shot one of the dogs, which turned out to be a pit bull.
The Oktibbeha County Sheriff”s Department believes the same dogs who attacked the calves at Mactoc Farm may be responsible for the attacks on goats last week on Chapel Hill Road. Deputies have been patrolling the area and citizens and supervisors have grown increasingly alarmed, Young said. He plans to look at Starkville”s code of ordinances, specifically the section which designates animals as “dangerous,” for possible application in Oktibbeha County.
In Starkville, a dog or a cat is considered dangerous if, “without provocation, (it) bites, inflicts injury, assaults or otherwise attacks a person in any place where such person is conducting himself or herself peaceably and lawfully, whether on public or private property, or attacks another animal when such animal is not on the property of the owner, possessor, or custodian of the attacking animal,” according to the city”s animal control ordinance.
The two recent attacks, if committed in Starkville, would designate the dogs suspected in the Oktibbeha County attacks as “dangerous.”
One problem the county could face, however, is enforcement of a dangerous animal ordinance, said District 4 Supervisor Daniel Jackson. In Starkville, police and animal control officers can issue summons and citations to owners of dangerous animals. But in Oktibbeha County, where there are no animal control officers, the task would be left up to the Sheriff”s Department.
“That would mean adding more money to the Sheriff”s Department”s budget,” Jackson said, noting the county already is facing a tight financial situation as budget season approaches. “There would be no point in passing something if we couldn”t enforce it.”