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Got A Pet Missing? Check At City Hall

This terrier was picked up last week in Water Valley.

William Beard with terrier.

Strayed Into Good Hands – William Beard, who is supervisor of the Cemeteries and Parks Department, also serves as the animal control officer. This part of his job includes caring for dogs that have been picked up. – Photo by Jack Gurner

By Jack Gurner

WATER VALLEY – The dog may be man’s best friend. But in Water Valley, the dog’s best friend may be William Beard.

Beard, who is supervisor of the Cemeteries and Parks Department, also serves as the city’s animal control officer. It’s his job to deal with the dozen’s of calls received monthly by the police involving canines, felines, and the occasional bovine.

Over the years Beard has had to wrangle cantankerous cats, slithering snakes, a prancing peacock, and – just last week – loose cattle near Lafayette and Central Streets. Fortunately the cows were herded back to their pasture with the help of police before they wandered into traffic.

However, the vast majority of calls have to deal with dogs. Mostly dogs running at large which is illegal in the city, according to Police Chief Mike King.

Around noon last Saturday, Beard was dispatched to the Rolling Hills public housing area where he picked up what he described as a “well-groomed dog, probably a feist terrier.”

“You can tell she’s an inside dog,” Beard said as he walked her around the city kennel located inside the wastewater treatment plant compound.

The city is required to hold a dog for no less than five days to give the owner time to claim their pet, according to Beard.

“After that, if the dog is friendly, it will go to the humane society where it has a chance to be adopted,” he said. Aggressive dogs have to be destroyed. That unpleasant task is done humanely by a veterinarian.

Beard hopes that making the public aware will help find the dog’s owner. He also wants to let people know that they can call city hall if a pet goes missing. If the animal is being held by the city, the owner can identify it, pay a fee, and pick it up.

As he returned the dog to the kennel, Beard rubbed her between the ears. She whimpered softly as he closed the wire gate. “These little fellows have feelings just like we’ve got,” he said. “I try to take care of them the best I can.”

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