Sheriff calls for enforcement of animal control laws

Published 4:39 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Commissioners said they want to make sure there will be no conflicts with the draft citations and plan to make revisions.

The county has an animal control ordinance, but no enforcement is available. Hill told commissioners that residents are warned and after a few times figure out that the county is not going to do anything about it. Hill said if the county is going to have an ordinance, it should be enforced.

Commissioner Tommy Melton said he and his wife were walking their dog about three weeks ago and were attacked by a large dog. He told commissioners it was a scary situation and mentioned that it could have been worse if he&squo;d had a child with him.

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If the county implements the citations, a board of adjustment, or appeals board would be created to hear appeals to the civil citations. Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson suggested that he, sheriff Hill and the health department director sit on the appeals board.

Currently the draft citations for animal control offenses include three levels.

Unsightly litter or odors, property damage caused by an animal, animals at large and failure to dispose of dead animal are some on the list of Level I offenses.

Level II offenses include animal bite, animal frequently at large, failure to confine a dog in heat, unsafe confinement of an animal in a vehicle and intentionally striking an animal with a vehicle, among other offenses.

Level III offenses include keeping of a dangerous animal, maintaining a diseased animal, cruelty to animals, abandoning an animal, keeping a wild or exotic animal and failure to comply with a dangerous dog order, among others.

Commissioners plan to refer to the county&squo;s animal control ordinance currently in place to determine fines for offenses.