PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) - Paragould Animal Control cracks down on pet owners not following policies put in place by the city.
The city has a dangerous animal ordinance that includes any dog that appears to be of the pit bull breed.
Paragould Animal Control Officer Todd Waldrum said many pit bull owners are not in compliance with what the ordinance states.
"As long as it looks like a pit, you have to go by the ordinance," Waldrum said. "If you're keeping it outside, it has to be in a 6-foot kennel with a top on it with a concrete bottom. If you keep it in the house, that's fine. If you have it outside, walking it or anything, it has to have a short 4-foot leash with a muzzle and you also have to have $100,000 insurance coverage."
Waldrum said they've seen an increase of the dogs on the loose.
"A lot of people are just sitting them out in their front yard just tying them on leashes," Waldrum said. "That results in dog bites. We've had several dog bites but if people would go by this ordinance, that wouldn't happen."
Waldrum said many cases aren't reported, so they may not be aware of each incident.
He estimates there were between 4 or 5 dog bites reported to animal control last year.
Waldrum said he likes to work with pet owners to make sure they get what they need in order to be in compliance with the ordinance.
"If we're out patrolling and we see one tied up to a front porch or a tree, we get out and give them a copy of the city ordinance," Waldrum said. "They have 10 days to comply with this ordinance or they'll get a citation and must appear in court."
Waldrum said owners must also show proof the dog is up to date on vaccinations.
According to Waldrum, owners could face up to a $500 fine for the 1st offense and up to a $1000 fine and revocation of the dog for the second offense.
Waldrum said the department has also seen an increase of pet owners leaving their dogs out to brave the elements without proper shelter, food or water which is considered animal cruelty and could leave owners facing a fine.
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