An incident involving animals loose on a rural highway prompted a phone call to the Ralls County Commission during their meeting Thursday August 10.

An incident involving animals loose on a rural highway prompted a phone call to the Ralls County Commission during their meeting Thursday, Aug. 10.

Ralls County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Ron Haught called the Commission requesting they consider developing a county ordinance which would aid in the enforcement of laws regarding animals and livestock loose on busy roads.

“I don’t want to get into the dogcatcher business, ‘cause we’re not,” Haught said over speakerphone. The deputy explained how the request sprouted from an incident which occurred that previous day involving horses which had escaped from their enclosure and wander onto Highway 61. The owner of those horses, according to Haught, was one of several repeat offenders of animal-at-large cases in the county. It was explained to the Commissioners that this horse enclosure in particular was inspected by Haught and his deputies. The enclosure was found to be in a condition which would increase the likelihood of the horses escaping.

Haught explained to the Commission how the state law regarding the enforcement of animal-at-large offenses has been altered in a way that lessens the impact he and his deputies have on reducing repeat offenses. He said that the fact that the animals do not appear to be abused or mistreated hinders his deputies and him from getting help from state animal rights groups like the ASPCA. He asked if the Commission was able to enact any kind of county ordinance that could help his department at all in stopping Ralls County’s repeat offenders.

“We don’t want to take their animals away by any means,” said Haught, “but we do want to be able to look at how we can at least get them [owners] in front of a judge and let the judge deal with it.”

Presiding Commissioner Wiley Hibbard told Haught that the Commission would look into the issue as soon as possible. Hibbard said they would look at Ralls County’s existing laws and ask if any neighboring counties have similar ordinances they could examine.

“We could make a motion to buy lead ropes for all the deputies,” Hibbard joked.

Other items discussed:

• The Commission received documents from the Missouri Department of Revenue detailing the redistribution of county sales tax monies for the month of July.

• It was reported to the Commissioners that the Center Park Days celebration managed to raise a total of $7,563 which will be donated to the upkeep and improvement of the park. All three Commissioners said they had helped serve breakfast to patrons during the event.

• The Commission received a note from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in response to the recent deadly plane crash in the southwest part of the county.