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Police Chief Makes a Back Door Move to Legalize Chronic Barking in Prescott Valley, Arizona
Prescott Daily Courier - Prescott, Arizona, USA
PRESCOTT VALLEY - Police are proposing a new process that should keep officers from barking up the wrong tree when investigating man's best friend. Police Chief Dan Schatz is proposing a new program that he hopes will free up his animal control and patrol officers' time. The proposal would create a more efficient way for residents to complain about unruly dogs.
The Prescott Valley Town Council will study the proposal during Thursday evening's meeting.
The Town of Prescott Valley received 3,430 animal control service calls in 2004, according to a report from Police Lt. Laura Molinaro. In 2002, the department received 3,064 calls for service.
"Often, the only action that can be taken is to drive through the area to see if the residence housing the barking dog can be identified, or to attempt to locate the at large dog," Molinaro wrote. "More often than not, this is unsuccessful (as) the barking dog has stopped barking or the dog-at-large has moved on or returned home."
Citizens would report the problem dogs by calling a hot-line or by typing their complaint onto the town Web site. Molinaro said the department would create a link to the town Web site for dog problems.
After the citizen complains, the town would send a letter to the dog owner that includes tips on how to resolve the problem.
If the problem persists, the complaining citizen then would have the opportunity to create a petition. At least three people would have to sign it and be willing to have their names on the complaint. Potential bark victims also could file a "bark log" or provide sufficient video or audio tape of the problem. The complaining citizen also would have to fill out a packet. An animal control officer then could issue a civil citation to the violator.
After that, the violator would have to appear before a hearing officer. If the violator wants to request mediation, a different officer would act as a mediator. The program will not change response times to calls for animals that threaten public safety, Molinaro wrote.
Council members would have to vote on the item during a future meeting if they show support for this idea. They will discuss this item and more during Thursday's study session. The meeting starts at 5:30 p.m. and will be in the council chambers, 7501 E. Civic Circle.
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