Loose dogs aren’t always impounded
Although Marion police impounded 32 dogs found running loose in the last year and took one to a veterinarian to be observed for possible rabies, dog owners were more likely to be contacted and told their dogs were running loose.
A dog that bit Marion resident Jonathon Benavidez on Friday as he walked down an alley in the 200 block between N. Roosevelt St. and N. Freeborn St. was taken to Spur Ridge Veterinary Clinic for 10 days’ observation after its owner, Ted Turk, couldn’t show that the dog had been given a rabies shot.
Police chief Clinton Jeffrey said Turk had no prior history of his dog running loose, but citations could be issued after further investigation.
Jeffrey said that while dogs routinely are taken to Animal Health Center, owners of dogs that must be observed for 10 days get to choose where the dogs are taken.
Over the last year, police have taken 32 dogs to Animal Health Center after they were picked up running loose.
City ordinances say an unidentified dog must be kept a minimum of three days. During that time, the veterinary clinic and police make efforts to find out who is the owner.
Police send the owner, if one can be found, a letter telling that he or she has three days to claim the dog before it is adopted or destroyed.
A citation for dog at large costs $160, but costs incurred for a dog getting loose can add up much higher.
“If there is an expense incurred for putting the dog down or boarding the dog, a lot of time they’ll have to pay that,” Jeffrey said. “Vaccinations have to be up to date, you have to get a dog tag, and you have to pay the pickup fee and a per-day fee, which is what the city gets charged.”
The demeanor of the dog is a factor in whether it is put up for adoption, Jeffrey said. The clinic often goes through the humane society in Newton.
Most of the time, the owner is found, he said.
Over the past year, police contacted owners or returned dogs home 40 times.
“It kind of depends on the situation,” he said. “If they are a repeat offender, we pick them up. Dog tags make it easier. If we can just call the number on the tag, we can do that. The moral of this story is to get your dog tagged.”
Police wrote four citations for dogs running loose over the last year and investigated two other dog bites.
A different ordinance comes into play when police encounter a vicious dog.
A range of fines can apply, depending on whether the dog was previously determined to be dangerous. Fines can run as high as $300.