BY JOSH PRESLEY
Beginning July 1, the responsibility for West Point’s animal control enforcement will come under the control of the West Point Police Department.
Previously the city’s animal control officer fell under the banner of public works, but West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the animal control officer didn’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 didn’t have the authority to make arrests and enforce city code.
“We hope to fill the position with a certified officer who can enforce city ordinances and state statutes,” 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 don’t have to devote their time to chasing animals.
“We’re screening applications now, and we want someone who can make it through the police academy,” he said. “We want to send whoever we hire to the law enforcement academy at some point.”
Brinkley said with animal control now being a police responsibility, WPPD will stringently enforce the city’s animal regulations.
“The biggest issue we have is dogs running at large and violations of leash law,” Brinkley said. “When these animals attack someone, it turns into a criminal act.”
He said while dogs are the biggest issue for animal control, WPPD occasionally gets calls about cows walking up and down city roads, and citizens’ 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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