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James L. White/Staff

Boone County Justice of the Peace Glenn Redding (right) talks with Harrison Assistant Chief of Police J.R. Cagle and Diane Thompson, mother of the woman who was attacked by dogs while walking in Maplewood Cemetery. Redding told JPs recently that a state law regulates vicious dogs, so a county ordinance is unnecessary.

A state statute addressing an unlawful dog attack should suffice, the Boone County Quorum Court members agreed at the end of the regular monthly meeting Tuesday night.

Last week, at the end of committee meetings, the justices of the peace discussed the need for a vicious dog ordinance such as the city of Harrison is developing.

The topic became relevant to county officials after a woman was attacked by dogs in Maplewood Cemetery, which is in the city limits. However, the dogs’ owner resides nearby, but in the county.

JP Glenn Redding said at the time that most of his constituents reside in the city limits and he would be monitoring Harrison City Council meetings as it deliberates on a city vicious dog ordinance.

The city council committees met last week and a draft of the vicious dog ordinance was presented. Redding brought copies of it to the quorum court meeting, but deferred to a state law researched by Justice Fred Woehl. Redding read it aloud:

2012 Arkansas Code

Title 5 - Criminal Offenses

Subtitle 6 - Offenses Against Public Health, Safety, Or Welfare

Chapter 62 - Animals

Subchapter 1 - General Provisions

§ 5-62-125 - Unlawful dog attack.

5-62-125. Unlawful dog attack.

(a) A person commits the offense of unlawful dog attack if:

(1) The person owns a dog that the person knows or has reason to know has a propensity to attack, cause injury, or endanger the safety of other persons without provocation;

(2) The person negligently allows the dog to attack another person; and

(3) The attack causes the death of or serious physical injury to the person attacked.

(b) The offense of unlawful dog attack is a Class A misdemeanor.

(c) In addition to any penalty imposed under this section, the court or jury may require the defendant to pay restitution under 5-4-205 for any medical bills of the person attacked for injuries caused by the attack.

Redding said he believed the state law addresses all of the county’s concerns including a penalty and a recourse for victims to receive restitution.

He suggested the sheriff’s office and 911 should be made aware of this law.

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