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Texarkana mayor suggests spay/neuter ordinance to ease overcrowding at shelter

Published: Aug. 3, 2016 at 2:23 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2016 at 2:24 AM CDT
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Overcrowding and lack of air conditioning in parts of the facility last month resulted in the...
Overcrowding and lack of air conditioning in parts of the facility last month resulted in the difficult decision to euthanize several of the animals last month, prompting an outcry from some local animal advocates. (Source: KSLA News 12)

TEXARKANA, AR (KSLA) - The mayor of Texarkana, Arkansas says work needs to be done to improve conditions at the Texarkana's Animal Care and Adoption Center, but an ordinance might be needed to address the root cause of the problem.

Overcrowding and lack of air conditioning in parts of the facility last month resulted in the difficult decision to euthanize several of the animals last month, prompting an outcry from some local animal advocates.

In the days since, volunteers have been working to help where they can and city leaders say local businesses have also donated time and supplies to keep the animals housed there as comfortable as possible.

But Mayor Ruth Penny Bell said many of the problems at the shelter will persist until the root causes can be addressed. Among them, the sheer volume of animals coming into the shelter that she believes could be reduced with an ordinance requiring animal owners to spay and neuter their pets.

"Set some fines for those animal owners who do not spay or neuter their pets," said Bell.

While the mayor says such an ordinance could help with the number of animals coming in for adoption, improvements to the facility are also needed.

"We have to have facilities," said Bell. "We may even have to expand it eventually, but the City of Texarkana, Arkansas can not do this alone. 
We've got to have partners."

The mayor said the money the city gets from other jurisdictions and donations from the public pays for housing and feeding the animals, including vet bills, but it does not go towards capital improvements.

Toward that end, Bell says public meetings will be scheduled "in the near future" to come up with a master plan.

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