In the wake of a community forum in which residents spoke in favoring lifting the city’s ban on pit bulls, the Roeland Park City Council this week discussed additional animal control issues, ranging from coyotes to barking dogs.
While a decision is still pending on the lifting the ban, representatives of Northeast Johnson County Animal Control met with council members on Monday night.
Council members voiced concerns about other animal control issues, including the enforcement of Roeland Park’s animal control ordinance.
“When are you going to quit hanging door hangers and enforce our ordinance?” asked Councilwoman Teresa Kelly.
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Laura Smith, the city administrator for Mission, which provides oversight of Northeast Johnson County Animal Control, said animal control officers leave door hangers in cases where offending animal’s owners aren’t home.
She said communication between Roeland Park and animal control was vital. “We don’t always hear what you hear,” she said. “If there are specific enforcement issues, please let us know.”
Councilwoman Becky Fast said that while there are numerous nuisance violations in the city — particularly barking dogs — records reveal few citations are issued in Roeland Park.
Wayne Brinkley, animal control officer, said residents are reluctant to sign complaints or testify against their neighbors. “Another issue is that often by the time we can respond, the dog has stopped barking,” he said.
Councilwoman Sheri McNeil said one issue in particular has been going back and forth between the city and animal control. “A neighbor is upset because one of the dogs living at the home next door isn’t property licensed and a fourth dog is living there in violation of city ordinances,” she said.
Brinkley said three of the four dogs are now licensed. The fourth dog, which belongs to someone else, will result in an automatic citation if it is found at the home, he added.
Smith said issuing citations is animal control’s last resort. “Our goal is to solve the problem,” she said. While that sometimes requires a court case, she said, animal control officers seek other solutions first.
Councilman Marek Gliniecki said a resident contacted him and reported seeing a coyote in Roeland Park. He said the resident was concerned that the coyote would attack pets or children.
Smith said residents need to be educated regarding eliminating coyote’s potential food sources, particularly pet food stored or served outside. She said coyotes can be dangerous to small pets, but are not usually a threat to people.
She said that it wasn’t uncommon for coyotes to be spotted in Johnson County and that several were reported in spring 2013.