Unlicensed animals loose in town have been getting special attention since City Manager Mark Brugger began his tenure.
After announcing at a city council meeting Nov. 2 that he would be actually enforcing a city ordinance requiring animals to be licensed with the city and be vaccinated for rabies, Brugger said that he’s seen far less dogs roaming city streets.
“Dog complaints are a big issue,” he said. “We get calls every other day, ‘there’s dogs in my yard, there’s pit bulls running around.’”
Brugger was reluctant to call his stance on stray dogs a “crackdown,” since the city only has one part-time animal control officer.
“We’re not going to go door to door enforcing this,” he said.
Starting Dec. 1, the city will be selling animal licenses that will be valid through 2010. For $10 the animal gets a tag with a number entered into city records, which can be used to notify the animal’s owner.
Brugger said that although he’s seen fewer stray dogs around town, only eight people have paid for licensing, and no one has come forward voluntarily.
“People don’t want to come in and get their dogs licensed for just one month,” he said.
The city manager said since he arrived in Healdton, there have been numerous complaints of loose dogs, including two attacks on humans. He researched the city code and found an ordinance already on the books.
Under the ordinance, unlicensed animals picked up by the city are taken to the city kennel. Their owners have two weeks to retrieve them before they are taken to a veterinarian in Ringling and destroyed.
To get the unlicensed animal out of the kennel, the owner must pay the $10 licensing fee, plus an additional fee per the number of days the animal has been kept. Unless the owner can show proof of rabies vaccination, they must pay a $10 vaccination deposit as well.
“For owners that love their animals, it makes sense to have a license,” he said.
Healdton residents can get their animals licensed at the Healdton Police Department by bringing a proof of rabies vaccination and the licensing fee.