Quincy's Police Chief Ferman Richardson and Corey Wilhoit, code enforcement officer, took to the streets Monday and Tuesday. They went door to door in the Sunset Acres neighborhood informing citizens that pets without tags or leashes and roaming city streets will not be tolerated.
"Through our community policing efforts we received many complaints from people, especially in that area, about animals. We've gotten complaints about stray dogs and cats, some roaming the neighborhood and some coming out of the woods," Richardson said.
The pilot program, while starting in Sunset Acres, will spread throughout the city in the near future. For now, all resources will be focused in Sunset Area to educate the public and to enforce the ordinance. Traps will also be set to capture stray animals.
"We've told them that any dog that is not on their premises is subject to being picked up. We will also assume that anyone who feeds a dog or cat is the owner and, as such, will be subject to the fine," Richardson said.
There is $30 fine for the first three offenses and $50 thereafter for each offense. If the animal is picked up and the owner admits ownership of the animal, in addition to the fine, a $3 tag must be purchased, proof of vaccinations must be up to date and a $7.50 boarding fee for every night the animal is sheltered will be charged. Richardson warned that any animals in police custody more than 72 hours may be euthanized
He said any dog or cat over 4 months old is required to have a tag, as well as current vaccinations. The tags can be purchased from any veterinarian or from Sylvia Hicks at Quincy City Hall.
People are encouraged to call the police department for animals that roam streets or are considered at-large, which means that animal is off the premises of the owner or custodian. Animals that are considered vicious, such as pit bulls, are required to be confined within a building or secured enclosure and must be securely muzzled or caged whenever off the premises.
“The aim is not to sneak up on citizens and fine them. That's why we have a comprehensive information program. We're going door to door," Richardson said.