Benton council revises ordinance to strictly control vicious dogs

The City of Benton followed suit of many other Arkansas cities Monday night, after voting for a stricter ordinance on vicious dogs in city limits.

The ordinance is a pretty lengthy document with several important changes when it comes to Benton residents housing what are labeled vicious dogs in city limits.

The council passed a revised ordinance by a 7-0 vote.

Much of this dates back to the beginning of this year when Benton resident Cindy Bowden had her dog mauled to death by another dog while out for an evening walk.

Bowden said Monday night, "My hope is that no one ever has to go through the crisis I went through," before the council.

Since that time, a council member along with the city attorney has worked on this ordinance to make owners that have dogs who attack, more liable for their actions.

Councilman Charles Cunningham said the current ordinance in place is a little too ambiguous, but the revised ordinance will now have blatant rules against dog attacks.

"I hope we're going further than just meeting in the middle, I hope we're going far enough to let the citizens know that this is a potential problem," Cunningham said. "It's something the city is concerned about, and a number of citizens are concerned about."

Also included in the ordinance is putting up signs around the city to make neighbors and people moving into Benton aware of the vicious dog ordinance.

One key component left off this ordinance is any provision labeling breed specific dogs as vicious, a section included in many other ordinances in Arkansas.

Channel Seven's Justin Lewis will give further details in his report on Nightside at 10 pm.