BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Officials with the Batesville Animal Control Office said Thursday people are selling, giving away and bartering unwanted animals on public streets, a violation of a 19 year city ordinance. Jeff Pender, Animal Control Officer, said he's asking the public to stop violating the law before he has to begin writing citations, which are $130 for each offense.
"It's just the time of the year with the breeding season. You get more puppies born in the spring and more puppies born in the fall," said Pender.
Pender said the ordinance, which was implemented in 1991, states people cannot give away puppies, kittens, ducks, chickens and other fowl in public areas.
"About a month ago, we started getting some extra calls than we normally do about folks showing up on parking lots, convenience stores, shopping malls, and service station lots, city parks, and giving away and selling puppies and kittens," said Pender.
Pender said he answered more than a dozen complaints in a two week span.
"You can't bring puppies into town and give them away on a street corner. There are other avenues to do that such as the paper or the internet," said Pender. "If somebody is serious about adopting an animal, they can come to your home. They can see where the dog or kitten was raised, what type of environment and make an educated decision whether or not they want that puppy or kitten."
Pender said the Batesville Animal Control Office's primary function is to find lost animals homes. He said another avenue a person could take to find a new home for an animal is through the Independence County Humane Society.
Pender said most people who violated the ordinance didn't know such a law was in existence. He also said the ordinance is in place to ensure safety.
"A lot of times I know in the past a lot of people just, oh look it's a cute puppy or it's a cute kitten. They get it home and it's sick. They don't know its sick or it's been exposed to something, and they take it home and make their healthy animals sick," said Pender. "There's a safety issue. If you've got folks out on a street corner somewhere, you know there's a traffic issue but most important is the health issue. You don't know where the animal really comes from."
"You don't know what it's been exposed to. You don't know the mother and father of the animal. There are a lot of things you don't know," said Pender.
Pender said animals are put through an evaluation process to determine how they interact with people and if they are healthy. He said there's a ten day quarantine period before the city become owner of the animal.
"I'm not here to write you a ticket. I can but that's not what I'm here to do. I'm here to give you the information and help you help yourself," said Pender.
You can help contribute to raising the awareness of pet adoption and pet control by donating to the ASPCA. You can do so by going to the "Lend and Paw" project on Facebook.