Jamestown police going ‘aggressive’ over unleashed dogs
In May 15-21 issue By Derek Aaron Times Journal Reporter
JAMESTOWN - An ongoing dog problem is forcing the city's police department to take "aggressive" action towards locating animals and even citing their owners, according to Police Chief Mike Keaton.
He said he has talked with Mayor Brooks Bates about the problem on several occasions and the two have come to an agreement that the city's laws and ordinances on the issue, some dating back to 1988, must be followed.
Keaton said the issue of concern is dogs running loose within the city limits. He said several of the dogs have reportedly destroyed property around town and twice destroyed one citizen's vegetable garden.
"I don't know anything else to do," he said. "Here within the last year and a half or so, the dog complaints have gone through the roof."
He said he had been approached recently by the mayor and several members of the Jamestown City Council about the problem.
"What I have told them that I'm going to do is review the city ordinances and we're going to enforce them," he said.
He said the problem of dogs running "at large" is unlawful according to city laws.
Keaton pointed out an ordinance passed in October 1988 that states, "It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any dog, either licensed or unlicensed, regardless of the age of the dog, to allow the dog to be at large and unattended or to run in any street, park, lawn, garden, schoolyard, playground, or on any other public or private property."
He said that in the coming days, if anyone in his department sees an unrestrained dog with their owner, they will first be warned that the dog needs to be on a leash.
"If they do not abide by the warnings they will be cited and they will be given a court date and will appear in court," he said. "This is just getting to be a really big problem for the city of Jamestown as well as the county."
Keaton said he had consulted with Circuit Clerk Tony Kerr on the issue and he had given him some corresponding KRS statutes that go along with the city's ordinances and the possibility of dog owners being cited.
He also said the ordinance on noise disturbances would also be more adamantly enforced.
It states, "No person shall keep or harbor any dog within the city which, by frequent and habitual barking, howling, or yelping, creates unreasonably loud and disturbing noises … as to disturb the peace, quiet, and good order of one or more of the inhabitants of two or more separate residences. Any person who shall allow any dog habitually to remain, be lodged, or fed within any dwelling, yard, or enclosure which he occupies or owns shall be considered as harboring the dog."
Keaton said his police force couldn't place dogs, or animals of any kind, in their vehicles due to insurance purposes and that could place a lot of pressure on the county's dog warden.
It has not yet been determined whether the Jamestown City Council will partner with the Fiscal Court in paying the warden's monthly salary and upkeep for the Green River Animal Shelter.
The council is expected to take this issue up at Thursday's regular monthly meeting. The Russell Springs City Commission chose not to help with $500 the Fiscal Court is asking for at their monthly meeting last week.
If the cities do not help with they salary, it has been reported that the city would have to provide their own dog warden.
"The Jamestown Police Department is going to enforce the city ordinances and I want the public to know that when an officer gets out his citation book, they're going to have to go to court," he said. Keaton said he still didn't know how fines would be levied but that fines, depending upon times cited, could be anywhere between $10 all the way to $500.
"It will be a costly fine," he said.
Keaton said that supposed "stray" dogs that are found to have an owner will be held responsible for any damage that the dog has caused.
"I've never seen this problem escalate like it has over the past six months," he said. Keaton said the stricter measures that will be taken can only help the city's dog problem.
"It can't do anything but help," he said. "I don't know of any other way."
The Times Journal is a weekly newspaper issued on Thursdays. It was first published on October 13, 1949, by Andrew J. and Terry Norfleet.
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