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Centerton city officials discuss issues within animal shelter

Several Centerton residents even asked the newly re-elected mayor to step down after reports of dogs unfairly euthanized at the animal shelter and other issues.

CENTERTON, Ark. — On Monday night, a special city council meeting in Centerton got heated. The special meeting comes weeks after two dogs described to be “extremely friendly” were euthanized at the animal shelter.

The director of the shelter was later fired.

“I don’t investigate rumors,” Centerton HR Director Jocelyn Diaz said. “All I can do is go over there and check what’s going on.”

During the special meeting, Centerton city officials were pressed about why they did not address several concerns about the shelter before the two dogs were put down.

“Those two dogs who died two weeks ago probably would’ve died if those complaints had been taken seriously,” said a public commenter at the meeting.

Some city council members say they weren’t aware of the concerns about the shelter.

“We are not getting the information that is needed and I’m sorry to raise my voice,” said Council member Amy Rochett. “But I’m really frustrated at this.”

Newly re-elected Mayor Bill Edward’s assistant Nicola Hoofard later took to the podium saying, “That’s your job, when a problem arises you get together and you fix it instead of stirring the pot.”

An audience member injected saying “It’s been an ongoing issue with all of the departments,” speaking about a lack of communication in the city.

Other issues discussed during the meeting include outdated record keeping systems like using Microsoft Excel instead of paying for a dedicated new system. The mayor and council also discussed more oversight in determining who decides if an animal can be euthanized.

“If 53% of the people in the city voted for somebody [to be mayor,] there’s something wrong,” Council member Justin Cowgur said at one point during the meeting.

Cowgur later suggested Mayor Bill Edwards step down. However, Cowgur left the meeting when the mayor suggest he resign.  As Cowgur was leaving the meeting someone in the audience agreed with Cowgur, shouting, “Hey Bill you should be stepping down.”

Some recommendations given during the meeting include:

  • More open doors
  • Volunteers 
  • HVAC system upgrades
  • Vaccines for animals
  • An ordinance defining who/what determines if an animal should be euthanized

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