City of Lepanto still trying to find a dog catcher

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lepanto Mayor Steve Jernigan told the City Council in a meeting Tuesday night that the city still is looking for the right person to hire for the position of dog catcher.

"We've interviewed several people," Mayor Jernigan said. "We've got a couple of prospects but really haven't made a final decision."

A Lepanto resident whose daughter was recently attacked by a dog addressed the council about the urgency of hiring a dog catcher. She said the stray dog problem has gone from being a nuisance to a danger, adding she feels more could be done.

She did mention she is satisfied with how the police handled the situation, but ntoed they were limited in what they could do.

Police Chief Chad Henderson said a lot of people who have applied for the position are convicted felons or are on probation. He noted the city would be in a lawsuit if a dog catcher broke the law and mistreated the animals.

The council suggested that, until a dog catcher can be hired, the police department figure out something as far as containing dogs for 10 days after they bite someone.

Mayor Jernigan said there probably are close to 40 or 50 stray dogs around town but added the city has had trouble finding the right person for the job.

"You have to hire the right person," Mayor Jernigan said.

In other business, Mayor Jernigan gave an update on the situation with Delta Environmental. He said Delta has informally offered a settlement to terminate its contract with the city on Oct. 31.

"If we work up a form of agreement, we would have to present it to council for approval," Mayor Jernigan said. "Until we have a formal agreement, it's just in the talking stage."

If the city can get out of the contract, Mayor Jernigan said there are five sanitation companies interested in coming in to take over duties.

"If it gets approved, we'll put out bids immediately so a company will be ready to take over Nov. 1," Mayor Jernigan said. He hopes to have a formal agreement for the council to approve by the next meeting.

Chief Henderson presented the council with a potential police car to purchase to replace one of the older ones, but members of the council agreed the city does not currently have the money to afford the car. No action was taken.

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