HELENA-WEST HELENA, Ark. – The U.S. Forest Service has ordered a mayor in Arkansas to pay $1,900 in fines and restitution for instructing a city employee to "dump two loads of dogs" in the St. Francis National Forest.
A forest service spokeswoman says Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley violated a federal prohibition against abandoning property in national forests and reached the penalty agreement with the federal agency and the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Of the total, $300 will be paid in fines and $1,600 will be paid to Northeast Arkansans for Animals to compensate the group for its work in locating and rescuing the dogs. Valley did not immediately return a call for comment.
In June, he said he was faced with a dilemma as the city was trying to deal with a stray-dogs problem while residents complained that a dilapidated shelter at the city's sanitation department was inadequate.
He said he had about 10 dogs released June 11th near the national forest in eastern Arkansas and did not believe he had done anything illegal. He said the dogs were better off free.
After the dogs were released, two or three of them were shot by a resident who saw them on his land. Others were found by animal rescue workers.