As of midnight on Friday, May 31, the decades-long partnership between the city of Fort Smith and the Hope Humane Society has come to an end.
Starting on June 1, Fort Smith Animal Control Officers will no longer be impounding animals, and any animals picked up will not be taken into the Humane Society.
This announcement has the people of Fort Smith emotional.
“It just breaks my heart, I have an animal of my own and I can’t imagine,” Vannessa McDaniel said.
McDaniel has had her rescue dog for seven years and says her heart goes out to all the ‘fur-babies’ at the shelter.
“The animals have no voice, and we are their voices and it’s just so sad,” she said.
She feels the city should do more for these four-legged animals.
“I mean they are wanting to build a Marshals museum for millions of dollars, but what about our animals that are in a rut, those homeless, homeless animals,” she said.
The Fort Smith Police Chief says the city is doing all they can.
“I know there is a lot of work being put into this and I know that there are a lot of emotions involved on both sides,” Fort Smith Interim Police Chief Danny Baker said.
Emotions for animal owners like McDaniel and for the police department.
“It makes our job much more difficult, we have to make calls on the street that we might not otherwise have to if we didn’t have this situation,” Baker said. “We want to see this finalized as much as anybody else.”
Until the city figures out what they are going to do, Baker says he is calling on all local veterinarians to step up and help provide services to the animals picked up.
“If they (animal control officers) encounter a situation in the field where they think they need a vet, we would like to be able to have someone to call on to handle that situation,” he said.
McDaniel thinks there needs to be even more done.
“Pray for our community and our animals,” she said. “We need all the prayers we can get to put these animals in a safe home.”
Interested, licensed veterinarians who practice within the city limits of Fort Smith are asked to contact Lieutenant Steven Krumm of the Fort Smith Police Department at 479-709-5016.