CLINTON — Clinton City Council heard a report on animal shelter operations, as well as attending to first reading on ordinances regarding water rates and street work bonds at its June monthly meeting, held Thursday.
The council heard a presentation for SNYP Animal Shelter head Lori Treat who was responding to allegations made about shelter operation. Treat spoke to the council after the regular animal control report from County Animal Control officer Tim Pike.
Pike reported to the council regarding a dog bite attack which had taken place in Clinton.
The victim, a young person, had received 25 stitches, Pike said. The dog was in quarantine at the shelter Pike said.
Part of the problem, he explained to the council, that the dog’s rabies shots had been done via supplies purchased at “The Co-Op” and were not legal as rabies shots, due to Arkansas law. If the dog had received rabies shots from a veterinarian it could possibly be put under home quarantine.
As it was, the dog was being taken to a vet by the owner, who was not aware the other-than-veterinarian shots were not legally binding, and the dog would then be transferred to a White County home.
Treat then addressed the council, detailing charges, made unfairly she said, against her and the operation of the shelter.
Treat’s group SNYP, for “Spay and Neuter Your Pets,” became the shelter operator January 2017 after the city and county relinquished control, citing budget concerns.
Treat had a point-by-point refutation of allegations including those citing her preference against certain dog breeds, an over-aggressive euthanization policy and an unwillingness to work with area pet owners, as well as other charges.
Treat explained to the council why certain policies were in place, often citing budget concerns, and how these policies generally were beyond state laws allowing, for example, pet owners more time to recover pets from the shelter than the zero-day state law.
In an interview, Treat said part of her contract was to keep six kennels open for animal control use at all times. This has been a problems at times, she stated, because “we refuse to euthanize.”
In one case after a dog attack last may, which she classified as “very brutal,” Treat said the dog was euthanized after the shelter was ordered to do so by the state.
Meanwhile the shelter has offered monthly spay and neuter clinics, which ceased recently due to COVID-19 pandemic concerns, Treat said.
The council voiced support of Treat and SNYP operations.
“The shelter’s in better shape now than it was four years ago,” Councilman Time Barnes said.
County Judge Dale James, who attended the council meeting from the gallery, said during public comments that Treat was doing “a better job” than the county and city since taking over shelter operations.
The council also gave the first of the required three readings for an ordinance to add an industrial rate to water and sewer department billing options.
The rate, is for users at 100,000 gallons a month or more, who would be billed at $400 per month, then $4 for each 1,000 gallons after the initial 100,000.
A $400 fee would apply to industrial sewer use as well, again with a 100,000 gallon usage.
City of Clinton Mayor Richard McCormac and Water and Sewer Department Manger Will Hinchey told the council this had been undertaken after requests from various water users, including car wash operators and large processing operators.
Because the rate change includes a sewer rate, a public hearing is required and will be scheduled, McCormac said.
Hinchey said the other big project for the water department right now was repairing water lines along the Highway 65 construction north of Clinton. New lines had been put in as part of the construction, but now sliding terrain north of Watergate Road has caused breakages, even of the new lines, Hinchey said.
Hinchey said the highway department was considering moving the lines, but wanted to consult with property owners regarding private easement for the areas along Highway 65 north of Watergate Road.
As it would take some time to research property rights, Hinchey suggested anyone with interest should call his office.
The council also made a first reading of an ordinance which would require a $1,000 bond for any organization cutting into Clinton Streets.
Recently, McCormac and street department head Charles Wilson said, contractors installing fiber-optic cable in the city had damaged drainage tiles. The problem was due to the number of contractors it was difficult to find out which contractor had done work in a particular area.
With a bond requirement, the council was told, it would be easier to track work being done, as well as paying for necessary repairs.
The ordinance allows the mayor to reduce the deposit required should the work being done not create a high a damage risk, such as a property owner cutting a street for driveway access, the council was told.
In other council matters:
The annual Archey Fest celebration will take place, the council was told, although with less activity, such as no carnival, compared to previous years. The even is scheduled for June 27.
The council authorized the initiation of a bond contract which would fund work on the Water and Sewer Department’s 10 year plan. The contract initiation was in order to lock in especially low current interest rates. The actual approval of a bond contract, if approved, would come later, the council was told.
Police department activity was increasing, with 151 citations written in the previous month, Chief of Police John Willoughby told the council.
The Zoning Commission was currently reviewing an issue regarding “spot zoning” when a request was made to, for example, change a particular space to commercial from residential, Zoning head Tim Clark told the council. The issue was not the legality of doing so, but possible long term repercussions of the decision making process, and potential complexities if a spot zoning was granted to one space it would then be able to be granted to additional spaces.
The council approved a resolution for new runway and beacon lights at the airport. Funding comes primarily from Federal Aviation Administration Grants, with additional funding from the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics.