Mayor who let the dogs out now a wanted man - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Jason Miles

Mayor who let the dogs out now a wanted man

Helena-West Helena Mayor James Valley doesn't mince words about what he thinks of a warrant for his arrest on animal cruelty charges.

"I think it's hogwash -- dog poo," said the mayor.

The criticism he's gotten since putting his city in the spotlight has also touched a nerve.

"I've gotten cussed out from Canada, Mississippi, Alabama -- probably even Jamaica," said Valley.

Two and a half weeks ago, Valley released more than a dozen dogs from the city's make-shift pound.  They were forced to fend for themselves in the nearby national forest.

"We needed to get out of the animal care business -- cause we weren't good at it," said Valley.

A special judge found reasonable cause Friday to arrest Valley.  He said the mayor obstructed local animal lovers from caring for the dogs.

"I disagree with everything he's done," said Laurie McLendon of the Humane Society of the Delta.  She's relieved when she heard the mayor might answer for his actions.

"Well, I was, because I think a law was broken," said McLendon.

The international exposure has helped her group raise awareness and money for a proper shelter.  Unfortunately, it comes at the expense of the dogs the mayor let loose.

"I believe animal lovers are great people -- it's just that these animal lovers who've contacted me are sick," said Valley.

He still believes the dogs are better off and that he is the only victim.

It appears the Sheriff of Phillips County is in no hurry to arrest the mayor.  In fact, he will likely only be informed of his court date -- which has yet to be set.

Click here to e-mail Jason Miles.

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