More bark, same bite?
Citations for dog violations in Marion have increased every year since 2016, according to municipal court records, but they haven’t increased nearly as rapidly as the number of complaints about dogs running free.
The number of calls for loose dogs has been on a rise since 2016, jumping from 66 to 88 in 2017, 115 in 2018, and 42 through April 2019.
The area has become of particular interest with rising concern from postal workers resulting in termination, or threats of termination, of door-to-door mail delivery in large sections of town.
Overall, only a few tickets have been issued despite numerous reports of dogs running free.
There were three tickets in 2016, six in 2017, eight in 2018, and four so far in 2019.
A stricter penalty increases the likelihood laws are followed, but there isn’t a large enough sample size to draw conclusions, councilman Chris Costello said.“The problem with a small town is that you’ll always have a small sample size,” he said. “When you’re talking about single digits, it looks like more of an impact than it really is.”
Dog violations are brought to officers’ attention, but whether the owner can be located or a ticket is issued is another matter.
Writing a ticket comes down to officer discretion, which could be effected by the number of new officers in recent years, police chief Clinton Jeffrey said.
“Maybe it has to do with the turnover in officers, but I don’t know if that’s the only factor,” he said. “There might be more dogs in town, or more dogs are getting out.
“I don’t know what the answer is. The easy answer is people take care of your dogs and it won’t be a problem.”