Posted on

Marion city council passes ‘vicious dog’ ordinance


Ordinance aims to reduce stray population, ease burden on shelters


The city of Marion sparked controversy last week with the passing of a controversial ordinance that has sparked debate among local residents. The new Ordinance #619 repealed the previous Ordinance #616 and amended Ordinance #239, which was originally passed in 1990, specifically addressing the issue of vicious dogs within the city limits.

The key provision of this new ordinance requires that all vicious dogs within the city limits must be spayed or neutered, regardless of whether they are currently in the city or will be brought in at a later date. According to the definitions provided in Ordinance #239, a vicious dog is one that has a propensity or tendency to attack or cause harm to humans or other animals, has bitten someone without provocation, or

See ORDINANCE, page A3

Local shelters are so overloaded some have resorted to keeping strays in groups. Even on the shelter porch.


From page A1

is trained for or involved in dog fighting activities. The ordinance does not specify specific breeds of dog.

Additionally, the ordinance extends the spay/neuter requirement to all dogs over six months of age, unless the owner holds a permit for unaltered dogs, such as a breeder or show permit issued by the City of Marion Animal Control Department. The only exceptions to this rule include registered service dogs, non-residents staying temporarily in the city, animal shelters or rescue organizations that require spaying/ neutering prior to adoption or sale, and dogs with medical conditions that prevent them from safely undergoing the procedure.

The ordinance itself says that it was passed as an effort to control the overpopulation of strays within the community that has exploded since the covid pandemic and strained the Marion Animal Shelter nearly to its’ breaking point. Both the West Memphis and Marion shelters declared they were in crisis mode more than a year ago.

Owners of “unaltered dogs” must apply for a breeder/ show permit, which comes with a fee of $200 annually and allows the owner to keep a maximum of three dogs over six months of age. However, the permit can be revoked if the owner’s dog is deemed vicious under Ordinance 239 or if the owner is charged with animal cruelty.

Penalties for non-compliance with the ordinance are strict. A first offense results in a minimum fine of $50 per dog, with the option for the District Court Judge to waive the fine if the owner obtains a breeder permit within 30 days. A second offense carries a fine of $250 to $500 and up to two days of imprisonment, while a third or subsequent offense can result in a fine of $750 to $1,000 and up to two days of imprisonment.

There is such little space at times, dogs have to sleep wherever they can.

Photo by WMAS

Scroll Up