RIPLEY • First Monday Trade Day organizers are implementing improvements and new guidelines to ensure the safety of animals that are sold at the flea market after a dog was found dead at the June market late last month.

Vice President Allison Windham expresses extreme concern over the animal and said that she wishes First Monday officials had been able to see the dog and to speak with the owner on Saturday, May 30 when the incident occurred.

“I received a phone call at 12:58 saying there was a dead dog in a ditch,” said Allison Windham. “I don’t want any dogs dead. I was so shook up thinking there was a dead dog that I could not think of Jerry’s (her husband and co-owner of First Monday) name and phone number.”

At the time she received the call, Allison was checking on chickens being sold at the market and Jerry was tied up parking a large RV that turned in the wrong entrance at First Monday. She was able to get in touch with Keith Thurmond, another co-owner of First Monday. He, along with two other staff members, went to the dog yard immediately but could not find the dog, the dog’s owner, or the person who reported the incident. They could not find any dealers who witnessed the incident either.

Allison said from the time she received the call to the time Thurmond reached the dog yard was only eight minutes. She was later able to get in touch with the person who recorded the incident but she had already left the market. That person believes that the dog died of a seizure from lack of water during the heat Saturday but Windham stresses that all animals had water during the routine check less than an hour before.  

“It was 78 degrees and breezy at the time of the incident because I looked at my Apple Watch,” said Jerry Windham.  “The high was only 81 later that afternoon.  The person who reported the incident is assuming ‘because of the heat’ but there was no heat so the animal must have had underlying conditions or dead before arrival.  We have been in contact with law enforcement about this and are working with them to determine what happened.”  

“Ryan Ericksen made five rounds to make sure every animal had water and to make sure they were OK. I promise there was water,” continued Allison Windham.

The Windhams said that Ryan and his wife, Sonya, came to First Monday four years ago and politely demanded the market make changes and while putting new rules in place.

“We asked Sonya if she would help us become part of the solution,” said Jerry Windham. “We do pay them but they have never asked for money to do this, so we believe they do this for the animals.  They are advocates for the animals and reasonable people that know the difference between a pet and working animal.”

The Windham said they are constantly looking for ways to improve the safety of the animals sold at the market. Starting next month, they will be implementing stricter guidelines and improvements in the dog yard.  There will be an increased presence of staff in the dog yard and throughout the market. Staff members will have check list when they make rounds and will have to sign off every hour.

“We determined that we needed documentation of the time someone makes the rounds and who made the rounds along with an incident report log where we would have a record of anyone not in compliance with the rules and give them a time limit to get in compliance or they will have to leave the market,” continued Jerry Windham. “This would note the time and the weather conditions because they change depending on the temperature.”

The Windhams hope the improvements and the increased staff presence in the dog yard will further ensure the safety of the dogs and all animals at the market.

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