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BY JOSH PRESLEY
Beginning July 1, the responsibility for West Pointâ€™s animal control enforcement will come under the control of the West Point Police Department.
Previously the cityâ€™s animal control officer fell under the banner of public works, but West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the animal control officer didnâ€™t have the authority to enforce city laws. He said the city has run into issues with animal control throughout the years because the officer didnâ€™t have the authority to make arrests and enforce city code.
â€śWe hope to fill the position with a certified officer who can enforce city ordinances and state statutes,â€ť Brinkley said.
Brinkley said WPPD plans to hire a full-time animal control officer, and possibly a part-time support officer, so the full-time law enforcement officers donâ€™t have to devote their time to chasing animals.
â€śWeâ€™re screening applications now, and we want someone who can make it through the police academy,â€ť he said. â€śWe want to send whoever we hire to the law enforcement academy at some point.â€ť
Brinkley said with animal control now being a police responsibility, WPPD will stringently enforce the cityâ€™s animal regulations.
â€śThe biggest issue we have is dogs running at large and violations of leash law,â€ť Brinkley said. â€śWhen these animals attack someone, it turns into a criminal act.â€ť
He said while dogs are the biggest issue for animal control, WPPD occasionally gets calls about cows walking up and down city roads, and citizensâ€™ goats getting loose. Most of the calls concerning dogs relate to animals that are considered vicious by city ordinance, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Chows.
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