Stray dog attack raises concern over rural dog dumping

Dog bite victim Westin Jackson

When a stray dog attacked a six-year-old in Shelbina, Missouri last month, area residents became aware of a bigger problem.

Shelbina isn't the only city with abandonded and stray dogs roaming county roads.

Westin Jackson's mom knew something should be done following the dog attack on her son. Click here to read the original story.

"It happens all the time. People dump dogs constantly out in the country. I just don't think that people think about what could happen. I don't know if this dog got mean with that family, and they decided to get rid of it. But, I mean, it almost killed my little boy," Westin's mom Jenna Begley said.

Now area residents in the surrounding counties are discussing problems of stray animals in the rural areas.

Monroe County does not have an animal shelter and the Sheriff's Office does not pick up stray animals.

"We don't have any resources in the county for stray dogs. We have several city pounds, but the city pounds won't accept dogs from out in the county because it costs the cities money when they have to actually take them to the humane society," Monroe County Sheriff David Hoffman said.

A Paris veterinarian hopes that, while there aren't any shelters for strays in the area, attitudes toward animal care change.

"A shelter only results because your pet ownership has been negligent, to not do the right thing, and that's help [sic] control the animal population. The shelter itself is going to require funding, a location. It's one thing to build a shelter, it's another thing to have long term funding," Dr. Mac Wilt said. "It is my opinion that just dumping a dog out on a county road is a form of animal abuse or neglect, and something that we should not have happen. But unfortunately it does. We need to be responsible pet owners, and take ownership of what we have."

Sheriff Hoffman says that, while it's difficult to find who is dumping the dog, you can face a criminal charge and a fine if you're found guilty. He urges anyone with information about dog dumping to contact their sheriff's office.

Story by KHQA reporter Meghan Townley.

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