Town of Webb Police Chief John Russell gave a presentation to the town board when it met on Monday, November 19 in Old Forge.
The subject was the town’s dog control ordinance and whether or not it is sufficient to satisfy the public safety and quality of life needs of the community.
Russell said that from a law enforcement standpoint the ordinance is largely okay in its present form.
He did add that some modifications are required in his department to better keep track of complaint patterns.
This he said came to his attention as a result of some recent dog control cases.
Currently the computer program that records complaints has been failing to flag repeat offenders sufficiently, he said.
Officers are not always aware of the extent to which a dog might be causing a nuisance to the public.
Russell said that problem can be remedied.
Another shortcoming deals with communication between the Inlet Police and Webb Police, both of which service complaints in the other’s jurisdiction.
That needs to be addressed as well, Russell said.
A third concern of Russell’s is the cost of taking dog complaints to court.
The town attorney represents the town in such cases, which is not inexpensive, according to Russell.
At the very least, he suggested that the town consider increasing fines to those who fail to properly control their pets.
This would act as a deterrent and it would help offset the town’s enforcement and adjudication costs, he said.
To further address cost concerns, Chief Russell suggested that the ticketing officer be allowed to represent his or her own case in court.
That would cost less than employing the town attorney for these cases, he said.
And the town board could enact that change, since dog control infractions are municipal and noncriminal.
But again, primary to Russell’s department, is the need to get a better handle on complaints—to record them in a way that allows better monitoring and swifter action.
Russell assured the board that he would address this issue. Town of Webb Supervisor Ted Riehle said discussions will remain ongoing as to recent complaints by the public and reasonable actions will be taken if necessary to improve the town’s ordinance.