Putting a leash on pets


More than four years have passed since revisions were made to Crothersville’s dog and cat ordinance.

The town council recently discussed strengthening the ordinance to help control the number of vicious dogs in town and the cat population.

The current ordinance doesn’t limit the number of dogs a town resident can have, and council members aren’t sure establishing a number is the right way to go.

But limiting the number of vicious dogs per household could be a possibility.

“I believe someone that’s got vicious dogs that have attempted to hurt somebody, like a mailman or something, they need to get signs up,” Councilman Bob Lyttle said.

According to the town’s ordinance, a homeowner who fails to post warning signs for potentially dangerous and/or vicious animals faces a $50 fine.

Dogs and cats are not allowed to run at large within town limits, and they must be kept under restraint if they are outside.

Fines for allowing a dog or cat to run at large or failing to restrain an animal ranges from $20 to $100 for the first offense. Fines increase for each subsequent offense within 12 consecutive months.

Councilwoman Danieta Foster suggested not increasing the fines each time, but instead making the homeowner responsible for getting rid of a dog if he or she receives a certain amount of complaints or citations.

Lyttle said even though the homeowner is responsible for keeping a dog restrained, the council’s job is to keep residents safe.

“How many chances are you going to give that dog to hurt some little kid? That’s the main thing. That’s what scares me,” Lyttle said. “If that dog breaks loose and goes after a kid on a bicycle, it’s going to maul him, and that’s what gets me.”

Police officers — and sometimes other town employees — currently pick up stray animals in town and issue citations. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department has an animal control officer, but he does not pick up dogs within town or city limits.

With the dogs police officers or town employees catch, they either are returned to their owner or their owner comes and gets them. If the animal is impounded, the owner has to pay a fee.

Unclaimed dogs that aren’t vicious are taken to Red Sky Rescue, a dog shelter in Medora.

While dogs were discussed at length, town employee Chris Mains said stray cats are a bigger problem.

Council members tossed around the idea of hiring an animal control officer to possibly work part time. That person would be in charge of enforcing the dog and cat ordinance, writing citations and picking up strays.

No changes were made to the ordinance at the recent meeting, but council President Lenvel “Butch” Robinson said it would be discussed again at the next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at Crothersville Town Hall.

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The Crothersville Town Council plans to discuss the town’s dog and cat ordinance at its next meeting, set for 6 p.m. Sept. 6 at town hall, 111 E. Howard St.

To view the town’s ordinances, visit crothersville.net/town-ordinances.