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Press Release Regarding City Pound

PRESS RELEASE

August 18, 2014

The conditions at our city pound are not ideal, and for that I am sorry. I do want everyone to understand how this has occurred. Part of our City’s animal control officer’s job is to pick up stray dogs throughout the town as complaints are received, or the dogs are observed roaming unchecked. The officer must then take them to the city pound. Sadly, most owners do not come forward when their dog is taken to the pound. At the time the dogs are picked up, the health condition of the dog and its history of care, if any, is unknown. It’s important to state that the city pound is a holding facility, not a rescue shelter. The city provides the pound as a service to the citizens in an effort to reduce roaming animals. However, no tax dollars are appropriated for animal care at the pound. If a dog comes in sick, there is a good chance that dog will infect the rest of the dogs in the pound. The pound doesn’t have the funding or manpower to prevent this. We only have one animal control officer for the entire city, and he essentially works 7 days a week and is on call 24 hours a day. He is a one man show, and his job is understandably overwhelming at times. He does clean the pens, water and feed the dogs daily in an effort to provide basic care while they are at the pound.

Our City’s ordinance provides that the city may hold the dogs for up to 5 days. If no one claims the dog within those 5 days, then the city is authorized to euthanize the animal. This is a procedure by a local veterinarian for which we must pay. We obviously have not been utilizing this ordinance effectively, which has led to a situation that nobody wants. We have tried to find shelters or rescues to take the dogs so that we did not have to euthanize them, but that takes time. The circumstances leading to this current, unfortunate situation occurred when our animal control officer – while trying to do his job -- continued to take in dogs, and the numbers quickly added up to an unmanageable amount. Animal control did make this mistake, but it will not happen again. Animal control and I personally do not desire to enforce this ordinance by putting animals down, but we do have a responsibility to take difficult actions, when necessary, that are the most humane under the circumstances. It is our hope that these animals can be adopted out or picked up by their owners, but frankly, we receive such a large volume of animals due to negligent owners that I’m concerned that we will not be able to keep the appropriate numbers at the pound without euthanizing some animals.

In the meantime, the City is working to improve the pound as an overall facility. But it’s important to keep in mind that it will not likely ever measure up to all expectations, as it is not intended to be a long-term rescue shelter. It is not funded or manned for that.

The City of Magnolia’s population is around 12,000 and we have one animal control officer. We struggle with a dog population problem that can only be helped by our own citizens. Dogs are dropped off in our town every day, plus we have dogs running loose that belong to non-compliant citizens. I want to encourage all dog owners in the city limits of Magnolia to buy a dog tag. This will ensure that your dog will get back to you. If you would like to help, we ask that you educate your family, neighbors and peers on the importance spaying and neutering dogs. The city pound would not face the challenges it has if these dogs had responsible owners. The compassion I have witnessed over the past few days has been great in volume, and I appreciate your concerns. I ask that you please use that compassion and concern by volunteering your time at the pound or donate money for vet care. The city pound is located at 922 S. Washington and is open to the public from 7:30-4:30.

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Verizon Boost in Coverage Throughout the City

Mayor Vann and Robert Baxley, manager of the Magnolia Water Utility, had a meeting with Verizon Wireless engineers regarding Verizon’s tour of Magnolia in search of locations for small cell sites.  A small cell is a small box that will be attached to a structure to increase cell coverage.  They are more cost efficient and a lot less application than a tower. Magnolia will be the first town in Arkansas to receive the small cells.  The sites will act as capacity relief for the local Verizon tower.  
 
The Verizon engineers are looking at four sites in Magnolia.  Those sites are the water tank on Joy Street, an antenna located at the Magnolia Fire Department, on the street light at Main and Vine, and on the old water tower located at the Magnolia Water Maintenance Plant on West Union.  
 
After installation of the small cells, Verizon customers will notice an increase in their coverage.  Chad Tarver, one of the Verizon Wireless engineers, stressed that Verizon is only in the preliminary phase of implementing the small cells in Magnolia.  He said that a date has not been set for completion but hopefully it will be this year.  After the new cell sites are in place, Verizon will evaluate the coverage and more can and may be added to Magnolia.  
 
Mayor Vann has signed a contract with Verizon for the small cell project.  He is excited about the new small cells not only because Magnolia will be the first in the state to offer the extra coverage, but also because of the extra revenue.  Verizon will pay the city $2,500.00 per site on an annual basis.
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3rd Annual Keep Magnolia Beautiful

The 3rd Annual Keep Magnolia Beautiful will be held on May 3rd beginning at 8:00 a.m. at the Magnolia Fire Department.  There will also be a drop off of all old household paint.  Please bring all of your old paint to the fire department to be disposed of.  Gloves and trash bags will be provided.  Everyone will meet back at the fire department for a free lunch!  All organizations, clubs, churches, and individuals are invited to attend!  Help us clean up the town before the Blossom Festival.