Concerns raised recently about the condition of animals at the Magnolia City Pound has prompted Mayor Parnell Vann to issue a statement about the matter.
Last week, the H&P Animal Alliance -- a local group dedicated to the “rescue” of animals from inhumane conditions -- began taking an overflow of animals from the city pound with the city’s permission.
The Alliance has also been raising money to have sick dogs that were at the pound treated by local veterinarians, and has placed many of the dogs into “rescue” homes or shelters.
Also making the rounds has been a video shot by the Alliance that showed conditions at the pound prior to the mass removal of dogs. The video’s distribution on the Internet has led toward hostile comments directed toward the city’s animal control efforts.
Vann, in his statement, says that he is sorry that conditions at the pound are not ideal, but that there’s also no way to deal with the large number of animals with which the city is forced to deal without euthanizing many of them.
Vann also thanks citizens who have stepped forward to ease the pound’s overcrowding, and urges more people to volunteer time at the pound, or to contribute money toward animal welfare.
Vann said in his statement that he wants to public to understand how the current situation has developed.
“Part of our city’s animal control officer’s job is to pick up stray dogs throughout the town as complaints are received, or the dogs are observed roaming unchecked. The officer must then take them to the city pound. Sadly, most owners do not come forward when their dog is taken to the pound. At the time the dogs are picked up, the health condition of the dog and its history of care, if any, is unknown.
“It’s important to state that the city pound is a holding facility, not a rescue shelter. The city provides the pound as a service to the citizens in an effort to reduce roaming animals. However, no tax dollars are appropriated for animal care at the pound. If a dog comes in sick, there is a good chance that dog will infect the rest of the dogs in the pound. The pound doesn’t have the funding or manpower to prevent this,” the statement said.
Magnolia’s animal control officer “is a one man show, and his job is understandably overwhelming at times. He does clean the pens, water and feed the dogs daily in an effort to provide basic care while they are at the pound,” the statement said.
City ordinance provides that the city may hold the dogs at the pound for up to five days.
“If no one claims the dog within those five days, then the city is authorized to euthanize the animal. This is a procedure by a local veterinarian for which we must pay. We obviously have not been utilizing this ordinance effectively, which has led to a situation that nobody wants. We have tried to find shelters or rescues to take the dogs so that we did not have to euthanize them, but that takes time.
“The circumstances leading to this current, unfortunate situation occurred when our animal control officer – while trying to do his job -- continued to take in dogs, and the numbers quickly added up to an unmanageable amount. Animal control did make this mistake, but it will not happen again.
“Animal control and I personally do not desire to enforce this ordinance by putting animals down, but we do have a responsibility to take difficult actions, when necessary, that are the most humane under the circumstances. It is our hope that these animals can be adopted out or picked up by their owners, but frankly, we receive such a large volume of animals due to negligent owners that I’m concerned that we will not be able to keep the appropriate numbers at the pound without euthanizing some animals,” Vann’s statement said.
The city pound is not intended to be a long-term rescue shelter, and the city doesn’t have the funding or the manpower to turn it into one, Vann said.
“We struggle with a dog population problem that can only be helped by our own citizens. Dogs are dropped off in our town every day, plus we have dogs running loose that belong to non-compliant citizens. I want to encourage all dog owners in the city limits of Magnolia to buy a dog tag. This will ensure that your dog will get back to you,” the statement said.
“If you would like to help, we ask that you educate your family, neighbors and peers on the importance spaying and neutering dogs. The city pound would not face the challenges it has if these dogs had responsible owners,” the statement said.
“The compassion I have witnessed over the past few days has been great in volume, and I appreciate your concerns. I ask that you please use that compassion and concern by volunteering your time at the pound or donate money for vet care,” Vann concluded.
The pound is located at the city Street Department yard, 922 S. Washington. It is open to the public on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The H&P Animal Alliance has taken more than 70 dogs from the Magnolia pound in the past week.
CLICK THE LINK BELOW to see its Facebook page.