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Natchez alderman discuss city animal ordinance

NATCHEZ — Alderman James “Ricky” Gray’s phone started ringing not long after the Adams County Board of Supervisors voted to adopt an animal ordinance Monday.

“I’ve gotten calls from constituents on West Stiers Lane,” Gray said during the aldermen’s regular meeting Tuesday. “When are we going to review our ordinance and see whether it deals with vicious animals?”

In February, the aldermen voted unanimously to develop an ordinance to address vicious animals after West Stiers Lane resident Phillip Stokes complained of four pit bulls in his neighborhood.

Mayor Jake Middleton asked City Attorney Everett Sanders if he had made any progress in developing an ordinance.

Sanders said the ordinance should address animal registration and not focus on a specific dog breed.

“My understanding is requiring registration and imposing fines on persons who do not register,” Sanders said.

In addition to mandatory registration, Alderman Dan Dillard said the ordinance should require pets be spayed and neutered. Dillard also suggested the ordinance ban pet-tethering.

“I think it’s animal cruelty,” Dillard said of tethering. “By doing that, the (pet owner) has created a vicious animal.”

Dillard said the ordinance should punish irresponsible pet owners and not the pets.

Sanders said he will to work on drafting the ordinance.

In other business:

4 Tourism Director Connie Taunton asked for the aldermen’s support in attracting two tennis tournaments that could have a direct economic impact of $340,000.

Taunton said city is vying to attract the United States Tennis Association’s Mississippi Tournament in August 2011, and the Southern State Seniors Mississippi Championship in October 2011.

“The two tournaments we have a chance on getting depend on the quality of our tennis courts, and we all know we need more courts to get these high profile tournaments,” Taunton said. “We need support on our existing courts to make sure they’re in good shape.”

Taunton said the city would play host to both tournaments in 2012 if the city secures an agreement.

4The aldermen unanimously approved a resolution in support of establishing a veterans’ home in the Natchez-Adams County area.