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http://www.usatoday.com/news/offbeat/2008-06-13-ark-dogs_N.htm?csp=34

Ark. city releases shelter dogs into forest

LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Unable and unwilling to keep abandoned dogs in a dilapidated shelter, the city of Helena-West Helena is taking strays to a national forest and leaving them on the side of the road.
"They are better off free," Mayor James Valley said Thursday. "Pardon the pun, but it was just something that was dogging us. So it would be easier for us until we get a facility and have a plan that we just not be in the animal shelter business."

But the St. Francis National Forest isn't in the animal shelter business, either.

"In the code, it is illegal to release animals, livestock or abandoned personal property on national forest land," spokeswoman Tracy Farley said.

Valley said the city's animal shelter was so run down that a regional humane society worker cut its locks last winter and released all the dogs. The city then temporarily moved its shelter to four uncovered pens at the city sanitation department.

After people complained the animals were still not properly cared for, the mayor decided the animals would be better off in the forest. The city street director on Wednesday took about 10 dogs to the forest after feeding and watering them. About three dogs were kept to be put down by a veterinarian, Valley said.

He said the city would need $50,000 to $60,000 to open a new animal shelter — and also must enforce existing animal-control laws.

"We have a leash law that we've been trying to work our way into enforcing. It's been so lax," the mayor said. "People are not buying leashes or tags for the animals. We could literally pick up every other dog in the city."

If animal-control officers get a call now, "they're going to pick the dog up and probably just take them to the other side of town," Valley said. "And it's going to be someone else's problem. ... or maybe they will take them to the forest."
 

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http://www.cwarkansas.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=0e43e7c2-8c5d-4c9d-98c6-1662c15d9af4

Local Animal Shelter Responds to Mayor's Decision

Last Update: 3:51 pm

Despite what people in Phillips County think Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley says he did nothing wrong by dumping ten stray dogs near a national forest.

This has really struck a nerve with a lot of people, especially those who work with animals everyday.

The Jacksonville Animal Shelter they're very upset. The shelter is always overcrowded but the director here says setting animals loose to fend for themselves is simply unacceptable.

The Jacksonville animal shelter has 89 other adorable animals but the shelter is really equipped for only about 50. Hady Limke the shelter's director knows all too well the problem of stray animals.

"He was dropped on a parking lot, threw from out a window," Limke says.

Limke says they all need to be cared for. So when she heard James Valley, the mayor of Helena-West Helena, say he didn’t see a problem with the dogs being released about dumping stray dogs in the Saint Francis National Forest she was outraged.

"It's not right to let them loose in a place, to let them take care of themselves," says Limke.

Limke says not only is it wrong it creates a safety issue.

"You call the department for the public, dogs will eventually get hungry, and they can become vicious," she says.

Limke believes Valley had several options: he could have contacted area shelters, rescue missions, and humane societies. Or he could have done what they do when space gets tight.

"We're having an emergency adopt-a-thon, adoption is no charge, they will get a certificate for neutering and spaying, dogs will be 35-40 dollars, and cats will be 25," says Limke.
 

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hard to believe animal care professionals resorted to the same cruel thought pattern some dog owners use to justify abandoning a pet!!"I couldn't put him down somebody will pick him up"
I hate the thought of euthanizing a dog but if done correctly should not cause undue distress.Hate heartstick,gassing,vacuum chambers-BUT maybe as a society we need to assure a peaceful death for those innocent dogs who somehow become'disposable'
 

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Quote:as a society we need to assure a peaceful death for those innocent dogs who somehow become'disposable'
Amen.

Question for anybody that might know--are there places in this country where shelter dogs could actually survive in a wild situation like this---or is this a certain death sentence by starvation, exposure, predation, or being hit by a car?

I cannot fathom the thinking on this one.
 

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They ought to fire that stupid Mayor. The thought of this just disgusts me that someone would do such a thing to mans best friend.
 

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Quote:They ought to fire that stupid Mayor. The thought of this just disgusts me that someone would do such a thing to mans best friend.
Quote:But the St. Francis National Forest isn't in the animal shelter business, either.

"In the code, it is illegal to release animals, livestock or abandoned personal property on national forest land," spokeswoman Tracy Farley said.
Arrest him, impeach him. And then set him loose in some remote forest since we can afford the resources to keep him in jail.
 

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This just infuriates me. How dumb can one person be to do such a thing? Releasing dogs into a forest will not solve anything--if anything it can and will cause many other problems. Then what?! ugh!
 

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This is shocking!

Chlorox and sending the mayor out on his own personal Survivor are great ideas.

The ACO here tells me that people let their dogs go in our local state park, and then they fall off of cliffs while chasing squirrels, die from exposure, starve, or if they are lucky, get caught and taken to the shelter. She tells me it is absolutely miserable and they work with the park to try to get them before it is too late.
 

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I can see the head line now " mayor killed and eaten by wild dogs while camping in the forest" Talk about irony...well maybe just wishful thinking.
 

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Is he out of his mind? How could someone possibly think that is ok? Yeah, Clorox is definitely needed in that gene pool.
 

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Ok. We're outraged. What can we do? Write letters to whom? City Council? County council? The governor?

Whom can we badger with phone calls?

What would be most effective? Some/many of these dogs will come back to this city's shelter. What then? Are there local rescues that we can support?

Do we have members here that are local? What do you recommend we do?
 

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I think that about takes the cake. No offense to our members from Arkansas but I have to say consider the location. Stupid is as stupid does.
 

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Kathy,
All the local Animal Shelters/Pounds/Humane Societies down here are ,well, stunned. The last I knew the dogs were being "captured" and moved. The mayor is taking a lot of heat. It is bad, it looks bad, it was a true brain fa*t of amazing magnatude.

For those of you wanting to know whom to contact, The Mayor of Helena would be the place to start. I'm not sure what county Helena is in (there are a gazillion counties in Arkansas) but expressing outrage to the county commissioners would be another step. Or you could write to Governor Mike Bebee. (Hope I got the last name spelled right.)

Although it is no excuse, the "demographics" for the area may be interesting: Helena/West Helena is in the Arkansas delta region, it's a community without many funds and with a population with below average income. I would guess that many houses in the town sell for less than they need to build the animal shelter.
 

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Oh I think this needs the same amount of publicity that Sen. Kent Williams got when he dumped his very pregnant GSD at a high kill shelter. Last I checked when you typed in the 'good senitors name' on Google you got pages of info on how he dumped his dog!!!!
We do need to hold this Mayor responsible. This is rediclious!!! How on God's earth can anyone justify this type of behavior.
Well I got all the links I had when I made contacts about Sen Williams on my work computer so I know what I'll be doing first thing tomarrow morning!!!
And yes, I would liked nothing more than this man to be striped naked and dumped in the forrest!!!
 

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To seriously believe dogs are "better off free" in the woods, fending for themselves is just unbelievable. Many will likely starve to death, get ridden with parasites and injured. They probably didn't fix the dogs either, and they're now allowed to reproduce uncontrollably.

This was clearly not done in the dogs best interest, but only the majors: out of sight = out of mind.
 
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