Concerned residents packed the small town hall building Thursday evening to their issues and concerns heard by the board.
Unfortunately, for the second time this week residents have been put off by their city leaders as the meeting was cancelled due to lack of a quorum.
Aldermen Dan Harris, Peggy Mengarelli and Harold Billings failed to appear.
The city's monthly meeting, which is a requirement by law and monitored by the Mississippi Secretary of States office, was initially scheduled for Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
It was cancelled that night as well because Mayor Kermit Stanton and Aldermen Peggy Mengarelli and Harold Billings were not present.
Stanton apologized to those in attendance Thursday for both cancellations and cited his reason for not being at Tuesday's scheduled meeting as a prior work commitment.
"I stand before you all truly sorry that the meeting called for tonight, as well as Tuesday night, had to be cancelled," said Stanton. "We will reschedule for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, August 14."
"This is unacceptable," said one woman in attendance. "We, the people, have family and jobs and have taken out time from our lives to be here. The city's business is not being handled. This is a slap in the face to every resident of Shelby."
At issue is an investigation, called for by Stanton to the Bolivar County Sheriff's Department, into a July 24 shooting by Shelby Police Chief Patrick Johnson of a pit-bull dog inside the city limits at 1515 Robert Gray Street, the home of one Ollie Hall.
Requests by The Bolivar Commercial to Chief Deputy Sheriff Gerald Wesley Jr. and Stanton for copies of the investigation report have been denied at this time.
According to the Shelby police report dated July 24, during the incident a bullet entered into an adjacent trailer home where people were present, however; no one was injured.
The report also said that there were 10-12 pit bulls at the residence at the time of the incident.
This is not the first time that the city's enforcement of the pit-bull ordinance has come under scrutiny.
“The city of Shelby has experienced a series of incidents over the past several years where pit bulls have threatened, attacked and injured people inside the city,” said another resident exiting city hall on Thursday. "These dogs scare me to death and I wait in fear on a daily basis for one of them to get out and seriously injure or kill someone. However, I don’t think that opening fire inside the city limits is safe option either."
In 2007, under the leadership of then mayor Dorothy Grim, the board of aldermen voted unanimously to adopt a pit bull ordinance for Shelby.
The city's ordinance reads, “the pit bull breed was developed for the purpose of producing fighting dogs,” the city’s ordinance says that “the unique history, nature and characteristics of pit bulls have been determined to require special regulations and provisions contained within the ordinance which the board of aldermen finds reasonable and necessary.”
Shelby ’s ordinance also says that pit bulls must, at all times, be securely confined indoors or within a ‘totally locked’ pen measuring at least 10 feet by 10 feet for a single dog and a minimum of 12 feet by 12 feet for more than one dog. Also, no more than three pit bulls may be confined at any single dwelling inside the city of Shelby at any given time.
The ordinance also says that pit bulls "are not allowed to be walked or kept within 50 feet of public schools, public events, including parades and church events, public parks of public sidewalks. Owners of pit bull dogs are required to maintain a liability insurance policy in the amount of not less than $100,000."
"This is not a new situation," said Alderman Dan Harris by phone this morning. "It is all going to come down to the city's ordinance and the history of the mayor and police department in enforcing it."
This issue will undoubtedly be on the agenda for Tuesday night's rescheduled meeting.