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Constable has dog day at Board of Supervisors meeting

Tensions were high temporarily in Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, over the death of a dog and the reporting of the same.

Constable Kelly Porter appeared before the board to report that the dog he used in his job had died.

The veterinarian who regularly saw the dog suspected the canine had died due to an illness that develops quickly when an animal eats too fast, Porter reported. Gases build up in the animal’s stomach and death can be sudden, the veterinarian told him. The dog died June 24.

Porter said during the time he had the animal, the dog had been utilized in misdemeanor drug cases and in at least one instance to assist in locating an individual who had died.

Board President Jerry Wilson was not happy to hear the news, though his concern was more over the timeliness of the report than the expiration of the animal.

“This happened the 24th, and today is (July) 15,” Wilson said. “Why didn’t you tell us before now?”

“I was not able to be at the last board meeting because I was with my 10-year-old son at a doctor’s appointment in Jackson,” said Porter. “I reported it to the sheriff and asked him to let you know I could not be at the meeting.”

“You could have at least called us and let us know the dog was dead, instead of sending a message,” Wilson said.

“I didn’t send a message. I’m here today,” said Porter.

“I feel like the next time this happens — you should have informed us,” said Wilson. “I’m not fixing to support another dog coming in here.”

Porter reminded Wilson that he was unable to attend the previous meeting due to his son’s health and explained the county’s relationship to the animal. Porter sought out the dog on his own time and at his own expense, he said. The dog was donated to him for his use as a constable by the rescue facility where he found the animal.

“Every time this dog went out, I donated my time and my gas, and used my personal vehicle when this dog went out. I donated all this to the county,” said Porter.

The only financial responsibility the county had was for dog food and veterinary care, the constable said.

District 5 Supervisor Doug Falvey asked if another dog was currently available in the county for similar use. Porter answered that the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office had two K9 units, and Sheriff Steve Rushing confirmed.

“How old was this dog and how long do they usually last?” asked District 2 Supervisor Bobby Watts.

“Four years old,” Porter said.

“They usually last nine or 10 years,” said Rushing.

Wilson spoke up again, saying Porter should have on June 24 immediately picked up the phone and called him and the other supervisors to let them know the dog had died.

“I’m here today,” Porter repeated. “I was at a doctor’s appointment in Jackson with my son during the last meeting. It’s not like I was trying to hide it or anything.”

Supervisors Eddie Brown and Nolan Williamson thanked Porter for coming, and the constable excused himself from the meeting.

In other business, the board went into executive session for economic development with Garrick Combs, executive director of the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce and the Industrial Development Foundation. After a closed-door session of 91 minutes, Combs was excused and Emergency Management Director Clifford Galey was called into the session. After 5 minutes, the session was called to a close. No vote was taken.