The City of Jasper may be revamping their ordinances regarding domesticated animals in the near future but for now, they want people to know the rules currently on the books.
The Jasper Municipal Code states that it is unlawful to permit any animal of any kind to run at large within the city. Any animal found running at large on the streets, sidewalks or other public property or private property shall be taken to the nearest holding pen and held for no less than three days, according to the code.
An animal is considered at large if it is found off the owner’s premises and it is not accompanied by the owner or representative of the owner.
After the three days, the animal can then be sold or destroyed, according to the code, although that is not the common practice of the city.
Animals found running loose in the city are picked up by the Jasper Police Department or Street Department. They are held at the street department and if they are not picked up by their owners in the three days, they are checked by a local vet where they are also spayed or neutered and then turned over to the Dubois County Humane Society.
“Over the years, city employees have been really good at finding homes for these animals,” Street Commissioner Jeff Theising said. “I don’t think there is a city employee that has wanted a dog that doesn’t have one.”
According to Theising, the department has three pens for animals where they are held for the three-day period. Street department employees volunteer to check on the animals after hours or over the weekends. They are fed with donated food that comes from local organizations and community members.
Theising also said the department receives donations of food from PetSense to help with the care of the animals. The Jasper business has also donated a chip reader to help the department identify animals that have been chipped by their owners.
In regards to leashes, the city simply requires the owner of an animal to maintain control of their animal. If that is through verbal commands, a leash or other means, they are acceptable according to the current translation of the municipal code.
“But, if a dog runs up to another person or goes in someone’s yard, technically, we could issue a citation,” Jasper Police Chief Nathan Schmitt said.
Citation fines start at $25 for the first offense, $50 for the second and then $100 for subsequent ones.
Other issues discussed at the Board of Public Works meeting Tuesday morning included cleaning up messes animals leave behind on their walks.
It is also required.
“Just be courteous,” Mayor Terry Seitz said. “Most people do; some don’t. There’s no reason not to.”