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In the recently filed civil suit in New Mexico against Roosevelt County Sheriff Marlin Parker, the town of Elida's mayor, Durward Dixon, alleges the sheriff challenged him to a fist fight in the middle of the road. Dixon and Parker are at odds over Parker's alleged interference with the Elida police department's enforcement of law and order.
The lawsuit specifically claims that Sheriff Parker returned a dog to its owner after Elida police had taken the dog away for killing chickens. The sheriff returned the dog because he asserted that chickens are not livestock. When Dixon attempted to speak with the county sheriff, Parker refused to discuss the matter on a couple occasions, and on one occasion, according to Dixon, challenged him to a fist fight in the road.
Elida's mayor was not happy about filing the civil lawsuit, however he felt that there was no other recourse as his attempts to discuss the matter had fallen flat. Parker staunchly asserts that the challenge to fist fight never occurred and additionally asserts that the county sheriff did not stop Elida police from enforcing the law.
The town's residents are not pleased that their elected officials must resort to the courts to resolve seemingly petty squabbles.
State laws vary in how the term "livestock" is defined. Under federal law, in some code sections livestock includes chickens (fowl), but in other sections, fowl are specifically excluded from the definition. Regardless of whether chicken are considered livestock, if a dog attacks a person, animal, or thing, usually law enforcement is justified in removing the animal.
Under New Mexico law, the offending dog was properly removed and could have been designated as a potentially dangerous dog. New Mexico law does prohibit allowing a pet to chase domestic animals in a menacing fashion. Given that the dog in Elida killed chickens, it seems Sheriff Parker may have some explaining to do as to why the dog was returned.
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