Thanks To Phil Merry For His Leadership

It is refreshing to have a director like Phil Merry who tried to create a more “citizen friendly” animal control ordinance without all the heavy fines some other directors were supporting.
Still, it is odd that so many want to pile on Phil for trying to do the right thing for the “citizens” of this great city.  You didn’t see this type of negative reaction when the directors voted to take $2.1 million from the same water & sewer fund that had been the recipient of 3 rate increases within 4 years only to turn around and use those same funds to provide utilities for downtown riverfront property.  The only folks who own downtown riverfront property are Richard Griffin and Benny Westphal, (60 acres+/- in one name or another),both very capable of providing utilities to their property themselves.
Where were all those folks when the directors approved the massive $271.4 million 2013 budget, which is twice the size of Fayetteville’s 2013 budget of $134.8 million.
Why didn’t these folks cry out when they saw our combined city administrator/mayor offices budget for 2013 of $919,470 compared to Fayetteville’s mayors office of $335,470 that includes staff.  You see, Fayetteville has a mayor/council form of government, where the mayor is “the man” calling the shots and is accountable to the voters….how cool is that!
Why didn’t these folks cry out about the large 2013 budgets at the FSPD and the FSFD, both totaling $30,987,450 compared to Fayetteville’s police and Fire at $21,354,738. I mean FS is approximately 10% larger than Fayetteville, yet our PD and FD is not 10%, not 20%, not even 30%, but our 2013 budget is 48% larger than Fayetteville’s Fire and police departments total budgets for 2013  
The animal control ordinance is by no means equal to the massive $271.4 million budget just passed, but it may be a sign of future leadership in representing the people.

Five Star: 
Average: 2.7 (14 votes)


You need to re-look at the ordinance

Jack, you need to re-look at the facts. Phil Merry's last minute change to your "citizen friendly" pet ordinance includes a first time $100 penalty for un-altered (not spay or neutered) animials who are caught running loose by animal control. Hows that for a burden on the "working familys" of Fort Smith. I lot of folks in Fort Smith don't have $100 extra to bail their dog out of jail. PS Pam Webber, Steven Tyler, Phillip and George voted for the measure

Leadership by Edict

Leadership by edict is not leadership at all. It scares me to think that this man will go against two vetted citizen group. It scares me to think this man will ramrod his point of view using emergency measures to pass mundate ordinances fitting his personal interests. It scares me to think this man will create alliances out of the ilk of a TV game show than to work openly, honestly and transparently before the community. It scares me that this man will pass new laws without the least concern as to how the public will be educated about it. It scares me that this man will ignore repeated efforts to inform him of the unintended consequences of his proposals. Gaining your endorsement is not his first mistake and most certainly won't be his last

Not alone

Merry didn't do it alone. Remember who else voted with him. Ole George can be included in that number.

Intended vs Unintended

All actions have unintended consequences. So what's the difference with this issue? If we seized action due to unintended consequences we would still be in the Stone Age.

What about the burden on the responsible dog owners?

So I spend good money on fencing, vetcare,quality dogfood and training along with time and enjoyment of my adopted rescue dogs. They are all big black dogs which are hardest to get to be adopted. Then comes along a first time collared and tagged dog at large and gets my dogs jacked-up and they injure themselves. My vet bill comes to at least $100 because a pet owner(even Grandma) could care less about other people's dogs. How is that fair? Education and prohibitive consequences are long overdue to many infractions in Fort Smith, not just loose dogs. The culture here is not progressive or cosmopolitan enough. So go ahead, repeal the proposed fine ammended animal ordinance and confirm to the outside world that Fort Smith is still behind the times.

What about the burden??? Food for thought

So your the victim.... Really? You have the disposable income to spay/neuter your pet, fence your yard, and get vet care for your animals. That is great and you are blessed. You are not part of the problem. Ask yourself these questions. Do you think any owner wants their pet running loose? No. Do you think some people shouldn't own a pet? Yes. Do you think the problem owners need to be better educated on pet ownership? Yes. Do you think if they had your job and education they would take better care of their pet? Yes..... So how is a $100 fine going to accomplish educating, or giving the problem owner more disposable income to take care of their pet?.... Ok lets look at the issue from another perspective. So the probem fined owner realizes the error of pet ownership. What are their options? 1. pay the fine get educated on pet ownership and pay to fix the reason the pet escaped and become a pet owner. 2. Take the pet to a shelter. 3. Dispose of the pet. 4. Don't pick the pet up from the humane society. Now Go to Wal-mart on a Saturday and look around at the majority of the citizens of Fort Smith and Ask yourself which option are they going to choose? Then ask yourself if the $100 fine is going to accomplish the intent of ordinance or if it is going to fall prey to the law of unintended consequences?

Try it You might like it

We won't know if even unintended good consequences result unless we try. And yes sir, my otherwise docil pets are the victim trapped behind fencelines when antagonized by stray animals. I suppose I could play the game and let them loose on a long lease to shred somebody's stray poodle, but I am more considerate of other pet owners and moreso the pets. I would expect the same respect.The quiet enjoyment of my home is a right not to be violated by the unintended consequences of irresponsible pet ownership. Suspended Stiff fines hanging over our heads prod us to comply with responsible behavior whatever the issue.

Here's an idea

(Tongue in cheek.) When your pet gets picked up and held hostage for the fine, just go to the Humane Society and "adopt" it. Would be cheaper than the fine and it would already be vaccinated and neutered.

not liking it

I don't know about you, but I'm increasingly hearing from friends and neighbors that they need to cut back on Christmas giving. They can't budget. Gifts, cards, merriment all scaled back or eliminated. If "trying it" means a family makes a difficult choice between retrieving their pet and leaving it behind for lack of money, just so you hear one less dog bark, I'll pass.

Make No Mistake

Fort Smith will not forget you tried to tax us by creating a city wide dog license We will not forget you tried to ramrod a mandatory surgery on all pets. You first attempt would have made anyone who didnt have their dog or cat fixed by next week would have been criminals in the eyes of the law. We will not forget that you kept the issue at the forefront for almost two years obstructing progress on more critical areas. We will not forget you did the same thing with introducing trash handling systems that will save everyone money and present a more modern city to prospective newcomers. We will not forget you ignored the advice of two focus groups. We will not forget you imposed emergency meeting measures to get you way out of your fear of another set of directors considering your plan. We will not forget you don't understand that it is our tax money that pays for a police force we want to not only to protect us through enforcement but to also serve us to when we need help. You have created more community disharmony than you have guidance and direction.

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