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McKenzie residents raise concerns over stray dogs

Vandalism and safety were key topics of discussion for the Town of McKenzie at last week’s town council meeting, but the perpetrators were a decidedly unusual bunch.

Stray dogs have had more than a few McKenzie residents on edge lately, and one concerned citizen had something to say about them at July’s meeting.

“These dogs are becoming a major problem,” said Bill Henry, who has witnessed several incidents of damage inflicted on his neighbor’s property, as well as his own.

“It is a major problem,” agreed council member Lester Odom, who echoed similar thoughts two months ago when the issue was first brought to attention. “We have talked to everyone from our lawyer to everyone in the sheriff’s department and the police department. About all you can do legally is catch them, but if you see a dog tear up your stuff, you have to get a warrant and have something done about it.”

Henry’s main concern, however, was that it could put people in a dangerous situation if they had to wait until provoked to legally take action against these animals.

“One of the dogs came into the garden area of my yard and growled at my wife,” Henry said. “What have I got to do? Wait until he jumps on top of me? I mean, that’s a problem.”

“I’m no lawyer, but I would think that you’ve got a right to defend yourself at that time,” said council member Wayne Smith.

As soon as discussion began about what the dog in question looked like or to whom it belonged, he was seen walking by the entrance to the bank where the council meeting was being held. Although the dog was walking with two people along the sidewalk, neither one of them was his owner.

Without a formal means of animal control in the area, most of the council members agreed that the number of options available to them was limited.