CATEGORY: ALD Tupelo City Council



By Philip Moulden

Daily Journal

A Tupelo official cautioned residents Tuesday that they could face fines if they don’t keep pets under direct control, the main point of the city’s animal control ordinance.

Dogs create the biggest problems, he said.

Municipal Court Director Larry Montgomery said the city gets 40 to 70 calls a month for assistance. Animal control officers pick up another 15 to 25 animals a month during routine patrols, he said.

Animals roaming unattended off the owners’ property are considered “at large” and are subject to capture.

“We want to let the folks know they are fully responsible for their animals,” Montgomery said. “No longer can we just let dogs out the back door and expect them to come home without causing someone else problems.”

Fines range from $25 for a first offense to $100 or more for subsequent offenses, Montgomery said. He also warned that owners could face contempt of court proceedings, including arrest, if they fail to heed an animal violation summons.

The city has stepped up its animal control efforts in the past six months, Montgomery said.

At the same time, the Tupelo-Lee Humane Society Animal Shelter has stopped its animal control activities, shelter officials said. Officials said all calls within Tupelo should be directed to the city’s animal control office in the police department.

Animal control officers will attempt to find owners when a dog or other animal is caught. “They basically become pet detectives,” Montgomery said of the two enforcement officers.

Generally, owners are given an oral or written warning on the first violation but will be cited to court for later infractions, he said.

When an animal’s owner can’t be found, or the same animal is repeatedly picked up, the animal is taken to the animal shelter, Montgomery said. Although the city animal control department and private shelter are separate entities, the shelter receives much of its funding through the city, officials said.

Animal control officers are on duty daily from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. They will take emergency calls in dog bite situations, for injured animals in roadways and for vicious animal cases, he said.

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