HUNTSVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Stricter penalties are coming for people who abandon their pets on the streets of Huntsville  

City officials say this has been an issue in both the city and Madison County for quite some time.  

“We have a huge stray problem in the city and in the county,” said Mallory Harland with Paws and Claws.

However, that’s about to change. 

“We are very hopeful about the direction the city of Huntsville is going with revamping their animal control program,” said Harland.  

Since becoming mayor of Huntsville, Travis Dotson has noticed a lack of animal control. 

“A lot of people come to abandon or surrender dogs to Paw and Claws,” said Dotson. “Well Paws and Claws is like any pet shelter in Northwest Arkansas. They are overran.”

People wanting to get rid of their animals soon turned to dropping them off in the streets.  

However, people caught abandoning their pets in the area will likely face a heavy fine.

“We are going to be a lot more stringent and a lot more strict for those who actually abandoned or surrender dogs just on our city street and take off. No more of that. We will not tolerate it,” said Dotson.

Dotson started to see big holes in the animal control program when it came to responding to calls. 

“We would go and see what the offense was or what the complaint was. We would either intake the dog or we would do something else. Then we would have to wait and call the police,” said Dotson.

That is not the case now. According to Dotson, their animal control program will offer citations immediately.