Hot Springs Village to propose strict dog ordinance after fatal attack

HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE (KATV) - Hot Springs Village considers stricter pet regulations in response to a deadly dog attack there in November.

Joan Kappen was killed by a Bull Mastiff nearly two months ago and now her community is taking serious steps in an attempt of preventing a similar tragedy from happening to someone else.

Hot Springs Village currently has rules for dog owners. But after a woman was mauled to death right down the street from her home, breaking those rules and others will have more serious consequences.

"We do not have a administrative fine set up for that. It's a, 'Do it please,' type of activity," said Keith Keck, President of the Hot Springs Village Property Owners Association.

It's an honor code policy that failed on November 21st when an unleashed Bull Mastiff killed 75-year-old Joan Kappen while she was walking down a road less than a mile from her home.

The deadly incident has the Hot Springs Village Property Owners Association considering changing that policy to an ordinance.

"The Saline County quorum court is very sensitive to the dog issue because it's one that exists across the county," said James Zahnd, Justice of the Peace for Saline County.

Keck said the village board of directors will be following Garland County's much stricter dog regulations.

"We are using Garland County's ordinance as a template," said Keck. "We will be making some minor modifications on their ordinance."

Modifications being considered include having all dogs on a leash while on public property and perhaps being fenced in while on private grounds, although that's unlikely.

"For some dogs, in order to be in the open probably need to be fences and the village covenants are very strict on fencing," said Zahnd.

Keck said he thinks village dog owners will understand and even appreciate the need for stricter regulations.

"They understand that the responsible pet owner is already working this way," said Keck.

There will be a town hall meeting with Hot Springs Village residents on January 23rd. The village is located in both Saline and Garland Counties. They will get the proposal by February 20th.