Opp council adds fines to leash law

Published 1:01 am Wednesday, January 23, 2019

OPD will issue $300 fines to repeat offenders

In an effort to address what was described as a “severe dog program,” the Opp City Council agreed Tuesday to begin fining owners who don’t abide by the city’s leash law.

“We have a severe dog problem in the City of Opp,” Mayor Becky Bracke said. “Dogs are running loose, dogs are being picked up, and people are complaining about them being in their yard. So we are going to have to come down pretty strict on this, because it is costing the city a lot of money.”

Currently there is no dog pound or animal shelter in the City of Opp, Bracke said. City officials work with a local veterinarian to house stray animals that are picked up.

“If we pick them up and we don’t know whose they are, then we have to take them to Dr. Walker,” Bracke said. “Each time we take a dog to the vet it costs the city $49. We have these dogs running around and people are just deciding they don’t want to take care of them anymore, so something has to be done.”

Going forward, the city will issue pet owners a citation the first time that they catch a dog on the loose, and then there will be a $300 charge the next time it happens.

“If we see your dog loose we will give you a warning the first time,” Bracke said. “The next time it is going to be a $300 fine. We don’t want to fine anybody, but we are trying to get people to take care of their own animals. So if your dog is out and we know it’s yours, we are going to warn you one time.”

Bracke said that if someone’s dog is missing and they think the police have taken it, they can take a picture of their dog to the police station and file a report.

Right now, the policy in Opp for dogs is that they have to be behind a fence, or on a leash.

“After the first fine, the judge will have the option to up the fine each time,” Opp Police Chief Kevin Chance said.

Bracke said the veterinarian with whom the city works is supposed to euthanize stray dogs after keeping them for seven days, but most of the time that does not happen.

“Dr. Walker just has a heart for animals,” Bracke said. “She is supposed to keep them for seven days before she euthanizes them, but she keeps them a lot longer than that. She has dogs that she uses for blood donations and she does not just put them down after seven days if she can find a home for them.”