SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
By a unanimous vote, the Salisbury Township Board of Commissioners has put some teeth into the township Animal Control Ordinance, aligning it with state regulations.
The updated ordinance was approved by a 5-0 vote. The ordinance was brought up for a vote on a motion by Commissioner Joanne Ackerman andwas seconded by Commissioner Debra Brinton.
The ordinance calls for a fine of up to $300 for a dog owner convicted of letting his or her animal run at large and a fine of up to $5,000, plus costs, if the owner is convicted of keeping a dangerous dog.
The ordinance went into effect upon its passage at the June 13 township meeting.
Following approval of the ordinance, which is available for review on the township web site, Township Manager Randy Soriano and Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles said there would be "zero tolerance" concerning violations of the ordinance.
The new ordinance is the result of complaints of dogs running free during township park recreation commission summer youth programs and a Feb. 6 incident in which a pit pull was killed by township police after an alleged attack. The dog's owner was fined.
Stiles displayed an example of new signs that will be made and posted in township parks. The new signs are expected to be placed in the parks soon.
"When I looked at our signs I really didn't find them to be adequate," said Stiles.
Stiles said the signs will alert dog owners of the new regulations and assist township officials in the enforcement of the ordinance.
"The more signs there are, the less chance they have to say, 'I didn't see them'," Stiles said.
While dogs are not permitted in township parks with the exception of Franko Farm Park, where dogs must be leashed, Stiles noted, "Service dogs are always permitted in our parks."
Stiles said he recently visited township parks to inform residents of the updated ordinance.
"I said that to one couple," Stiles related during his report to commissioners June 13, "and they said, 'Are the commissioners getting cranky?'
"'No, they're getting serious,'" Stiles said he replied to the couple.
Stiles thanked Salisbury resident and recent Kutztown University graduate Sean McDermott, who helped with updating the ordinance.
"I think he did a lot of great work," Stiles said.
McDermott, who studied history and political science, expects to attend Lehigh University this fall to pursue a master's in political science.
The 21-page ordinance includes seven chapters that regulate, among other matters: the duties of the township animal control officer, animals running at large, dangerous animals, animal noise control, animal defecation, keeping of animals, and feeding of waterfowl.
Stiles again emphasized that enforcement of the ordinance is complaint-driven and dependent on township residents bringing dog or animal problems to the attention of township officials.
"If we get a complaint, Charlie [Durner, township animal control officer] would go and observe," said Stiles. "Usually, that's how it's generated."
Durner and township police are authorized to enforce the ordinance.
The ordinance continues the ban on feeding waterfowl in township parks. Upon conviction, a fine of from $50 to $300, plus costs, could be imposed.