The Smith County Commissioners Court approved an interlocal agreement with the City of Arp on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, to take its stray dogs into the Smith County Animal Shelter.

“I’m happy to see Arp come on board, and I hope other cities will too,” Smith County Judge Nathaniel Moran said.

The Commissioners Court approved a similar interlocal agreement with the city of Troup on March 28, 2017.

Just like the agreement with Troup, Arp officials will be responsible for responding to animal control matters within its city, transporting the dogs to the Smith County Animal Shelter and paying for any fees associated with impoundment, testing, medical treatment or other services.

Arp Mayor Terry Lowry said the agreement with Smith County is “something you don’t ever want to use,” but gives them an avenue to remedy a situation with stray or dumped dogs if or when it comes up. “Now, we have a place to house them,” he said.

The Animal Shelter waits 72 hours to try and find the dogs’ owners before they become the responsibility of Smith County and can be adopted out, Smith County Fire Marshal Connie McCoy-Wasson said.

The City of Arp will pay Smith County $50 per dog that is brought to the shelter, as well as an additional $35 for each dog requiring euthanasia. Dogs are typically only euthanized at the county animal shelter when they are dangerous to others or severely injured.

The agreement between Smith County and the City of Arp is effective through Fiscal Year 2018.

Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said they will reach out to other cities within Smith County to see if they need a similar agreement.

There are currently 49 dogs in the shelter, which has a maximum capacity for 169 dogs. Mrs. McCoy-Wasson said they have taken in three dogs from Troup since the agreement was finalized a month ago.

The Animal Shelter, 322 E. Ferguson St., is open for adoptions Monday through Friday, and routinely holds weekend adoption events.

Smith County’s Animal Shelter does not take in any owner-surrendered dogs.

Smith County operates its Animal Shelter for the purpose of reducing the general animal control problems in Smith County, including the vaccination of dogs, reporting human exposure to rabies, quarantine and testing of biting animals, reduction of the stray animal population, restraint of dangerous animals, protecting its citizens from the dangers and problems associated with animals at large, inhumane treatment of animals and other related services.