Garland Co. Considers Crackdown on Some Dog Owners

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HOT SPRINGS, AR — During a heartbreaking interview last week, the mother of five-year-old Ayden Evans said she supports new restrictions on dog owners in light of the Bullmastiff attack that killed her son May 9th.

“This isn’t the first story,” Mica Evans said in tears.

The attack was just the latest in a string of incidents that’s led to calls for the county to crackdown on certain breeds.

Now, elected officials appear ready to act.

“These are breeds that when they do bite, they seem to do significant damage,” said Garland County Justice of the Peace Mickey Gates.

Gates is working to craft an ordinance aimed at cutting the number of serious attacks.  Some are pushing for an all-out ban on certain breeds.

“I don’t think they even need to exist,” said John Conville, who we met walking through downtown Hot Springs.

But Gates said the plan that’s moving forward would not ban any breeds.
Rather, it would list potentially dangerous breeds and require owners to keep them locked up or on a leash .
Owners would also have pay to have a microchip implanted so dogs can be identified.

“We didn’t want to infringe on people that weren’t being part of the problem,” Gates said.  “We wanted to be as least intrusive as possible.”

Gates concedes that the new rules would not have helped little Ayden who was mauled in the home of a family friend.
But, he said, they will provide a recourse when owners don’t secure dogs capable of viscous attacks.

“We’re going to issue citations to the owners of those dogs,” Gates said.  “We’re going to have them explain to the judge why they’ve failed to maintain control of their dog.”

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