Speaking Tuesday at the Brownwood City Council meeting, Brownwood Police Chief Terry Nichols described a scenario in which a dog owner lets the animal outside into an unfenced yard to do its business, then settles in to watch television for the next hour.
By the time the owner goes back out to check on the dog, the canine has chased four bicyclists and attacked a cat.
Nichols gave the scenario during a report to city council members in which he updated the council on efforts to improve enforcement of animal control ordinances. Police received helpeful feedback during a community meeting about animal control enforcement on April 10, when it was agreed that police need to be more active in enforcing existing animal ordinances and look at updating those ordinances, which haven’t been changed since 1995, Nichols said. Topics included unrestrained dogs, dog bites, neglect and abuse and spay and neuter.
Since that meeting, police have met with City Attorney Pat Chesser for discussions on topics including what kind of proof will be required if a dog owner is going to be cited and fined as a repeat offender.
Police have also met with representatives of the Corinne T. Smith Animal Center, where a kennel has been set aside where police can bring impounded dogs after hours, Nichols said. The animal center has also set aside space for kennels that will be used for rabies quarantine, which will take the place of a dog owner taking the dog to a veterinarian for quarantine. The shelter will charge a fee that will include a rabies vaccination once the 10-day quarantine ends, Nichols said.
A follow-up community meeting will be held in late July or August, he said.
Nichols listed some of the 25 animal complaint calls that animal control officer Sarah Lopez — one of two in the city — responded to the previous day. In Lopez’s nine-hour shift, calls included found kittens, an escaped cat and a possum that was captured and released in another area.
Nichols also said police will begin a strict enforcement of current animal control ordinances beginning May 1.
In other business, council members:
• Heard Rick Phelps announce that there will be three prayer services, in an effort to accommodate everyone who wants to attend, on May 3 to commemorate the National Day of Prayer.
• Approved an exchange of two small tracts of property between the city and a property owner to solve to encroachment issues.
• Approved a resolution declaring 2,500 cubic yards of excess dirt during the erosion control project at Riverside Park as surplus and authorized city staff to sell the dirt to contractors for $1 per cubic yard. Council members agreed that 30 yards of the dirt will be hauled to the landfill, where it will be available to citizens for $5 per pickup load.