BY JOSH PRESLEY
West Point Police Chief Tim Brinkley said the West Point Police Department has received numerous calls about potentially vicious dogs that are merely kept on a chain, and the department has started cracking down on the owners.
The city’s animal ordinance classifies Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, any mixed or cross-breed German Shepherds and Chows as vicious animals and requires they be confined in a secure enclosure.
“Those dogs the ordinance considers vicious can’t just be kept on a chain - that’s illegal,” Brinkley said. “When we get calls on those dogs that are just on a chain, the owners are going to start being cited.”
WPPD took control of the animal control duties for the city at the beginning of July, and Brinkley said police officers have spent too much time chasing dogs since then. He said WPPD plans to hire a full-time and part-time animal control officer for the city.
Brinkley said he’s gone through one round of interviews for the new animal control officer already, and hopes to have at least the part-time position filled by next week.
West Point Chief Administrative Officer Randy Jones said the biggest advantage of transferring jurisdiction of animal control to WPPD is enforcement.
“When we get a full-time and part-time officer hired, the city will have someone on call 24 hours a day,” Jones said. “It will be a certified officer who’s been to the police academy and will have the full authority to cite people and make arrests.”
Any breed of dog running at large in the city limits is illegal per the animal ordinance, and can carry a $50 fine, but the fine doubles when the dog is considered a vicious animal. If the dog then attacks someone, it’s a criminal offense for the owner, according to Brinkley.
“We have a lot of dog bites in the city,” he said. “We’ve even had a small child attacked by a Pit Bull.”
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