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Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015

Police clamping down on loose, vicious dogs

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Fort Scott Police Department is taking a more proactive approach toward enforcement of the city's vicious animal ordinance, which states that it is illegal to harbor dogs such as the two canines currently housed at the city's animal shelter.(Jason E. Silvers/Tribune)
Due to some recent incidents involving pit bulls and similar canines, the Fort Scott Police Department plans to take a more "proactive approach" to the vicious dog code, pit bulls and registration of canines.

"We want to let people know that one, they're illegal," Interim Police Chief Travis Shelton said. "And two, we don't know if people are just thumbing their nose at the ordinance, or if they don't know it's a law. Also, the police department's stance is we're going to be more aggressive in enforcing these ordinances."

Shelton said there have been some cases of dog bites lately, dogs becoming vicious with people or other animals, and dogs running loose, which is also against city ordinance.

"It's against the law to have them within the city limits," he said. "We've had an influx of vicious dog complaints. We have two open pit bull cases pending right now. We've also had police officers bitten (by vicious dogs) trying to enforce ordinances."

Shelton said he knows there are some pit bulls currently out in the community and the city's animal shelter is currently home to two of them.

"We want people to contact the police department if they see a violation of the ordinance," he said. "I know people who are harboring pit bulls."

The city's code states that it is "unlawful to keep, harbor, or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the city" any vicious dog or other animal such as a pit bull, which is defined by statute as the bull terrier breed of dog, the Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog, the American pit bull terrier breed of dog, the American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog, any dog of mixed breed or other breeds than above listed which breed or mixed breed is known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers, or any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of" any of the previously mentioned breeds, or "a combination of any of these breeds."

"We get them in town," Shelton said.

Officers sometimes deal with vicious dogs around drug activity in town, Shelton said.

Shelton said the ordinance also includes details on registration of dogs, such as fees and fines.

Any dog running at large is also prohibited by law within the city limits and is punishable by fine. Annoying or disturbing dogs are also prohibited. Dog owners can be cited for not registering their dogs or not having them vaccinated, the law states.

Dog owners are required to renew their animal's registration by June 1 each year, Shelton said.

All the violations listed in the city ordinance are misdemeanors and carry various fines.

Dog owners can also be cited for not having dogs vaccinated.

Police officers typically deal each day with several animal control problems such as "dead animal pick up," "dead deer," "dog off its leash," or "dead cat in the road," Shelton said.

Dogs that are impounded are typically held until the police department has submitted all citations and other important documentation and the court releases a ruling on the particular case.

Each case usually involves the presentation of witnesses and evidence, and someone who has issued a complaint, Shelton said.

Shelton said he has seen cases of dogs being put down after a case ends.

It is possible for impounded dogs to be reunited with their owners if the court finds that the owner will move the animal from the city limits.

According to the ordinance, "...the municipal judge decides that a dog is vicious and liable to bite and attack persons within the corporate limits of the city or has bitten or attacked any person, the municipal judge shall order and direct that said dog be killed."

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Ordinances and statutes are not technacly "laws", and one could claim illeagle search and seizure if the officers came onto private property with out a warrant.

-- Posted by rusty84 on Thu, Jan 17, 2013, at 9:59 AM

Where do I begin??

Stop listening to the media and get the truth about a pitbull. There are more vicious and disturbing animals than pitbulls.

According to a survey in Florida, the animal recorded to have inflicted the greatest number of bites was the domestic short haired cat. Records indicate german shepherds are more responsible for fatal attacks than a pitbull. The odds of being attacked by a pitbull are 1 in 145, 000, 000. A person is 6 times more likely to be struck by lightning than bitten by a pitbull.

With responsible owners and proper training, pits are productive members of society. For example, a 15 year old pitbull became Alaska's first hearing dog. A pit found left in a freezer left for dead made the largest cocaine bust on the Texas border. A pit becomes a service dog and lives in a senior citizens center with quadriplegic owner for 15 years.

You know there are good and bad people. We don't cage them and euthanize them. The same should be true for pitbulls. These dogs are not the villians, they are the victims.

Blame the deed and not the breed!

-- Posted by dontpickonme3 on Fri, Jan 18, 2013, at 2:02 PM

@ dontpickonme3..I totally agree with what you are saying..I think they are being uneducated and stupid about this pit-bull situation, I watched this on the news tonight and it made me sick that people are that ignorant about an animal..I have a female pit-bull and I would invite ANYONE to just come in my home, because you would get a tongue bath. She loves everybody. Its how they are raised and sometimes people need a guard dog. So you kill a dog for protection their family? So if I bite someone for breaking in my home, are they going to euthanize me too?? The police dept. needs to deal with more serious issues than worry about a dog..

-- Posted by candisann71 on Fri, Jan 18, 2013, at 11:07 PM

I think people should be able to own the kind of dogs they want, but I do think they should keep them from running loose. Any dog, aggressive in nature or not, when cornered or threatened could attack. That is just the nature of all animals. If someone's child's face was torn off by a vicious dog, they would be the first in line to want to sue the City and Police Dept. for not enforcing the lease law.

-- Posted by food4thought on Sat, Jan 19, 2013, at 10:34 AM

How about cats running loose? If a dog has to be caged or chained so should cats. I am sick and tired of cats roaming near my house all day every single day. As I stated before, the animal recorded with the most bites is a domestic short haired cat.

Also, where was the parent when that childs face was torn off or where was the child? And, I highly doubt a parent would be first in line if a cat harmed a child?

My dog saved me and my house one night because he was loose. I had to go to our truck around midnight one night and I let my dog out of the house with me. When I was heading back to my house, I never knew a man was on my property walking towards me and my back door until my dog barked and cornered the man until my husband was able to run outside. If it wasn't for my dog running loose, I could have been attacked or robbed by a drunk man who came on my property.

My dog is not vicious, he was protecting his owner and property. I am so thankful for him.

Not all dogs are vicious so leave them alone and control the cats and people who harm the community.

-- Posted by dontpickonme3 on Sat, Jan 19, 2013, at 11:55 AM

It is also unlawful to have a pit bull or pit bull mix in Bourbon County not just the City of Fort Scott. If people were not so irresponsible, the dogs would not have become a problem in the first place.

-- Posted by EyesOpen on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 6:54 AM

@eyesopen...why should the "law" mark a certain breed of a dog that you cant own? It should be that wzy about every dog not just pit bulls. Ive seen more vicious cocker spaniels and other breeds..pit bulls are just as loving as every other dog, they are not vicious. Go educate yourself before pointing your finger at a breed. If people are that irresponsible, then they shouldnt own any dog..but the law shouldnt punish those that are responsible.

-- Posted by candisann71 on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 11:53 AM

Eyes Open- To be honest, its people like you that cause precious animals (pitbulls) to get a bad rep. Obviously you have never had the unconditional love from a pit. Don't run them down when you don't have a clue about them. Get facts and don't post your awful opinion.

-- Posted by dontpickonme3 on Tue, Jan 22, 2013, at 2:15 PM

Had to walk all over the county and was snapped at by only one dog - a little terrier mix less than a foot tall.

Where does the money go when residents purchase a license? Except for adding 4 additional pens, nothing has changed for the better at the city animal shelter. That shelter should have been moved years ago.

-- Posted by Workerbee on Thu, Jan 24, 2013, at 6:50 PM

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