Animal owners in Collegedale beware: Letting your dog bark or run loose in the neighborhood could result in fines up to $500, thanks to an animal control ordinance passed by the City Commission on Monday night.
Effective Jan. 20, the ordinance would force owners to leash their dogs in public parks, streets and whenever they are outside the confines of their private property. Vicious dogs, or those who attack people, now will be required to wear a muzzle.
Tim Elliott, building, codes and safety officer for the city, said the ordinance is intended to reduce the number of resident complaints about unruly neighborhood pets.
"It was taking up a large amount of my time," he said. "There was just numerous calls as far as barking dogs, and a lot of times it was repetitive, from the same person, which is obviously a noise ordinance and a nuisance. And then we had dogs running at large frequently throughout the city."
Owners whose dogs bark, whine or howl for longer than 10 minutes or intermittently for 30 minutes or more could be fined $50 to $500, according to the new code.
Although the ordinance was unanimously approved by the commission, it could undergo revision, according to Commissioner Fred Fuller.
A potentially problematic component to the code, he said, was the provision allowing the city to euthanize any registered animal they impound if the owner does not claim it within three days. Mr. Fuller believes the city should ensure the owner has received notice before it destroys any animal.
Still, he supported the new code, which he said could address the concerns of his former neighbors on Bowen Trail, who have complained about a Rottweiler running loose in the neighborhood.
"Animal control in Collegedale has always been a problem," Mr. Fuller said. "People just love their dogs but they don't want to take care of them."