Complaints prompt vicious-dog crackdown

Staff Writer

A growing number of complaints from residents is forcing West Point police to start enforcing the city's vicious dog ordinance.

"We've gotten a whole bunch of complaints from people about folks walking what appear to be vicious dogs and not following the ordinance, especially people on the walkway," Police Chief Avery Cook said.

"It's summer and more people are out walking, older people, woman by themselves, It's just a concern, people are scared. These may be pets and we understand that but other people don't always understand or know what the dogs might be capable of," the chief continued, noting the department had 55 animal calls in June and most of those were for vicious dog concerns.

"If someone owns one of the dogs deemed vicious in the ordinance, they need to abide by the law. We're going to start enforcing it this week. We'll be patrolling and watching the walkway and other areas for violations," the chief said, noting Animal Control Officer Steve Scott will spearhead much of the enforcement.

The ordinance labels chows, pit bulls, Rottweilers and mixed cross breeds of German Shepherds as vicious animals. When out in public, the dogs must be muzzled as well as on a leash.

The muzzle is the key element, the chief noted.

"People aren't muzzling their dogs and they start barking or growling and it scares people, especially if they have pets or children with them," he explained.