Buck passed


The old “pass the buck” axiom is alive and well and lives within the confines of Little Rock Town Hall.

Bear with me. About two months ago, some – not all – residents of the Meadowcliff subdivision in southwest Little Rock received a letter from the United States Postal Service’s location on Baseline Road advising residents that if their mailbox is attached to their house, it will have to be moved to the sidewalk due to a dog attack on a mail carrier in the subdivision.

Yes, loose and stray dogs are a problem in this neighborhood and probably in other areas of Little Rock. In recent years they have become more abundant. Yes, the problem of these stray and stray animals is 100% the responsibility of their owners.

Most of the dogs I’ve seen while driving around the neighborhood wear a collar, so you know they’re the pets of someone who got away. Of course, the dog owner’s responsibility is, without a doubt, to properly house and secure their pets. Some of these loose dogs can be escaped pets, fence jumpers, etc. Some of these dogs are also abandoned by their owners due to relocation or the cost of food and health care for their animals.

Many people in this subdivision are seniors and retirees, some on fixed incomes, others entirely dependent on their monthly Social Security checks to get by, and some don’t even have a vehicle to run errands. , so they rely on their family members to take them to their doctor’s appointments, the grocery store, etc. Driving around the neighborhood, I would estimate that 80% or more have mailboxes attached to their dwelling, under a porch roof and right next to their front door for ease of accessibility.

The U.S. Postal Service has asked them to move their mailbox to the sidewalk by April 1 so that letter carriers can get to the box and place the letters inside. Some of these residents struggling with the difficulties I mentioned cannot afford to hire someone to remove their mailbox from their house and put it on the curb. The Postal Service letter also stated that after April 1, “all mail and subsequent mail received at this post office will be returned to sender as undeliverable due to dog interference.” If the owners’ mailboxes are not moved to the curb!

On March 28, I sent a letter to Mayor Frank Scott Jr. and copied City Manager Bruce Moore about it. I asked why the city animal services division didn’t take care of it. Their “Mission Statement” on their webpage reads: “The Animal Services Division is responsible for protecting our citizens by enforcing all city ordinances related to animal safety and welfare. Pet owners who break the law receive citations for appearing in City Court.In addition, Animal Services staff are responsible for stray animals in Little Rock.Stray animals are picked up and housed at the Animal Village where they are cared for, or they are held for retrieval by their owner, adoption or rescue Adoption programs try to place these animals into loving homes with responsible owners Animal services officers respond to complaints about strays , injured, neglected and abused.

Two days later I got a response from Terahn Cooney, constituent relations in the mayor’s office, saying they had been in touch with the Postal Service about this and that the statement was issued by the government. federal, so they had no authority in the decision. .

I know that federal law takes precedence over local municipalities. However, this clearly strikes me as a case of Animal Services not doing the work that we, the taxpaying citizens, pay them for. Hence my claim to “pass the buck” regarding the response I received.

Over the past few years, I’ve constantly seen posts on Nextdoor.com for the Meadowcliff/Brookwood subdivision of off-leash dogs in the neighborhood. I guess it’s happening all over town.

Here’s an idea! How about hiring more animal control officers to round up these dogs and fining the owners if the owners can be identified? Maybe our mayor or city manager should increase Animal Control‘s budget to hire more staff, even part-timers, and investigate overhauling this whole department so that we citizens don’t have to have to endure costly hardship and interference from the federal government. on how to do the work assigned to them.

Just a thought.

Randal Berry of Little Rock is a former snake trainer and musician.

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Jennifer R. Strohm