A dog attack is debated in Maumelle and elsewhere

Marcus Higgins was walking his 14-pound Jack Russell terrier mix named ‘Ruff’ on a leash just outside his property in Maumelle on the evening of August 24 when two dogs approached him ‘at full speed’.

In Higgins’ words, “The mugger dog jumped off the ground and punched me in the chest and threw me to the ground on my back. The pit bull then grabbed Ruff and lifted him over his head and shook him.”

Higgins says one of the dogs carried Ruff across the street “to finish him off,” prompting him to fire his .380 pistol.

He thought the dogs would have turned on Ruff if Higgins hadn’t fired his gun.

The two dogs fled, and Higgins’ wife was able to pick Ruff up and have him transported to the Arkansas veterinary emergency clinic, where the two “reluctantly agreed to have him put down” due to the severity of his condition. his internal injuries.

The other two dogs, “Zeus” and “Sabre”, were taken into custody by Maumelle Animal Services.

Shortly after the attack, a motion to humanely euthanize the two attacking dogs was issued by the Maumelle District Court and Maumelle Animal Services. The hearing is set for September 13.

The dog attack resurfaced Maumelle’s ongoing debate over whether the suburban town of about 20,000 people should impose a ban on dangerous dogs.

Maumelle City Council voted 5-3 in April 2021 on an ordinance that lifted a previously enforced ban on pit bulls.

Now those in favor of the ban are arguing that the latest attack could have been avoided had the ban not been lifted.

Maumelle City Code § 10-133 states, “In the event of an attack resulting in serious physical injury to a human being…the Animal Services Supervisor may seize the animal and request the Maumelle District Court for a order authorizing the animal to be humanely euthanized.”

Maumelle city code defines a “serious injury” as “any physical injury that results in any of the following…(2) A laceration requiring or requiring multiple suturing or cosmetic surgery.”

Both dogs left Higgins with multiple injuries – including stitches to his face, mouth and both hands, as well as other injuries to a pre-existing spinal fusion, according to a report from the Maumelle city attorney, Melissa Krebs.

JACKSONVILLE

Just days after Maumelle’s attack, the Jacksonville Pit Bull Committee held a meeting to discuss the idea of ​​changing its existing “dangerous dog” ordinance.

Committee members said they were unaware of the Maumelle incident upon arriving at the meeting.

The proposed order for the nearly 30,000 residents of Jacksonville, home of Little Rock Air Force Base, would not lift the ban. But it would allow individuals to register their pit bulls as long as they meet a list of requirements.

Some of the requirements include: mandatory microchipping, vaccinations, fees, regulated fencing for residents and more.

While some committee members were absent, most members present were not in favor of this idea, but voted to bring it to the board at a later date for further discussion.

MAUMELLE

Maumelle City Council member Steve Mosley said in a recent email, “If I could share a recommendation with those in Jacksonville or North Little Rock who may be considering lifting the ban on dangerous dogs, I would would say not to.”

Mosley is one of three who voted against lifting the ban last year.

“Whether [these dogs] snap, they can inflict massive damage to another animal or human in seconds,” Mosley said.

At the last Maumelle Town Council meeting, a Maumelle resident spoke during the public comment portion at the start of the meeting and expressed her grief to Higgins on behalf of the entire town. She also asked the board to keep the facts in mind and that it appears to be the first and only pit bull attack since the ban was lifted over a year ago.

“The city did their job in this case. Let them keep doing their job,” she said.

Another resident urged the council to reinstate the ban “immediately”.

Adding: “This could happen anywhere, anytime, to anyone in Maumelle because we simply don’t have any regulations or ordinances in place to protect us, our children or our pets against irresponsible pet owners with dangerous and unpredictable dogs.”

Board member Jess Holt suggested that the board needs to “get together” and create a specific committee to pay attention to this issue and better navigate the ongoing debate.

“Everyone has their opinion, but the most important thing we can do — as a council — is come together and be willing to talk to each other and share our thoughts,” Holt said.

Mosley followed up Holt’s comments by announcing that he plans to bring a motion to the board on September 19 to reinstate the ban lifted in April last year.

“The safety, health and well-being of your residents should be your top priority. If the dangerous dogs aren’t around, they can’t bite anyone,” Mosley said.


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Jennifer R. Strohm