• Rescue steps in after Mid-South strays found shot to death

    By: Winnie Wright


    HUGHES, Ark. - As many as 100 stray dogs are wandering a Mid-South town, and advocates say local government has done nothing to help.

    Back in December FOX13 told you about the stray problem in Hughes, Arkansas.

    FOX13's Winnie Wright was thereafter learning that residents had taken to running over the strays with their cars.

    Seven months later, and there is no update. 

    Advocates for these dogs told us things have gotten so bad in Hughes, out-of-state rescues have had to step in. 

    They said it’s an embarrassment for Arkansas and especially Hughes. The mayor said we’re working on it.

    “Something needs to be done out here. It’s an epidemic.”

    Dorren Williams had a van full of dogs on Tuesday, all waiting to see the vet for the first time. 

    She’d just spend two long days catching the dogs in Hughes. 

    Her organization, Forever Home, came down from Illinois to save as many dogs as possible.

    “How dare they,” she asked. “They need to do something about this for the dogs. The streets aren’t safe.”

    Back in December, we were in Hughes because local advocates were finding the dogs run over. Not in the streets, but where they lived, near abandoned buildings.

    Now, those residents said, people have resorted to shooting the dogs within city limits and leaving their bodies for families, children to find.

    “The ones they just shot were puppies,” Williams told us. Adding, “gut shot. So, they had to crawl away and die on somebody’s porch.”

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    Forever Home was able to save 12 dogs this trip, but Williams says she knows full-well the cycle is going to continue until people start spaying and neutering their dogs.

    “Where are the police? Where’s the city government on this? Why aren’t they doing something about it,” she questioned.

    “I am not a supernatural being, so I can’t be in every place at every instance, otherwise I would,” said Lincoln Barnett, Mayor of Hughes, when we took the issue to him.

    We last spoke to him in January, shortly after he took office. He’d disbanded the police department after learning a majority of the officers weren’t properly accredited. He told us then he was working to fix the stray issue.

    “For the past few months, we’ve been meeting at our city council meetings trying to get people to be a part of ‘Animal Control Committee.’ We would like to have that committee of community members that would be willing to work with the agency we are trying to get to come back,” Barnett explained. Adding,

    “The agency we are trying to get to come back is Ark Angels for animals.”

    Williams said, in the meantime, she hopes people will stop taking the law in their own hands and will help care for the strays.

    “They’re not mean dogs. They’re just dogs looking for a place to stay, something to eat and something to drink,” she said finally.

    Barnett said the police department hasn’t gotten any calls about dogs being shot. 

    He said residents who witness this sort of behavior should call the police.

    The dogs rescued Tuesday will go in to foster homes and after they’re healthy, will be up for adoption.

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