Archive for Thursday, April 20, 2006

Council talk goes to dogs

April 20, 2006

Doggone it, get your animals tagged, the Baldwin City Council says.

At Monday's meeting, the council discussed concerns raised by citizens regarding animals at large. Council Member Tony Brown brought the matter up and wanted clarification that the police department does enforce city regulations.

"There are laws on the books and, just for clarification, that if people call regarding animals there will be action taken," said Brown.

"Yes, we respond," said Police Chief Mike McKenna. "We put down a sick raccoon just the other night. With domestic animals, such as dogs, we take them to Doctor (Tim) Jones (local veterinarian)."

Concerns were raised regarding the dog tag fees charged by the city and where that money goes now that there isn't a animal control officer. Not much is raised by the fees, the council was told, and most of that goes to boarding fees when dogs are caught and taken to the veterinarian.

"Last year, we took in $1,800 (from dog tags) and we spent about $1,600 on boarding fees," said City Administrator Jeff Dingman.

"But, this money does go toward animal control," said Brown.

McKenna explained what his department does when calls are received about dogs at large. He said it depends on the situation, such as if it's a one-time occurrence when a dog gets out of a fence or if it's a repeat "offender." Another big factor is whether the dog is properly tagged or not. If tagged, there's a way to contact the owner. If not, it's taken to boarding. That doesn't last long, however.

"If no one knows who's dog it is, no one claims the dog, it is taken to the Humane Society (in Lawrence)," said McKenna.

Council members shared complaints that had been registered with them.

"I think most of the frustration is from the people who take care of their dogs and keep them in the fence," said Council President Amy Cleavinger, who raised the issue at the previous council meeting, asking for the safety committee to look into it.

Dog tags cost $5 with proof of rabies vaccination and that the animal has been spayed or neutered. Dog tag sales have steadily declined over the years and the price may have to increase.

"I think we need to inform the community of the importance to get their dog properly tagged," said Brown.

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