LUMBERTON — Lumberton’s new vicious dog ordinance is on the books as the city searches for a second Animal Control officer to help enforce it.
Passed in June, the ordinance lists bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and mixes of those breeds as potentially vicious, along with any dogs that have bitten a person or pet without provocation.
Officials at the time said it would likely be 60 to 90 days before the ordinance takes effect because the city needed to notify residents of the new law and hire an additional officer to enforce it in earnest. City Manager Wayne Horne said recently that the ordinance is in effect.
“Once we get that position filled, we’ll start evaluating and enforcing it,” Horne said.
In the meantime, reports of noncompliant dogs will be enforced. Lt. Johnny Coleman, with the Lumberton Police Department, said the department has not received any complaints about dog owners violating the ordinance, but that several dog owners have called to find out what they need to do to be in compliance.
Under the ordinance, potentially vicious dogs, when not inside a house or on a leash, must be kept in a secure pen consisting “of four secure sides with a height of at least 6 feet, or if shorter it must have an enclosed top.” The pen must have a cement bottom, have a bottom that is attached to the sides of the pen, or all sides of the pen must be embedded at least 2 feet below the ground.
Additionally, owners of potentially vicious dogs must have at least $100,000 in liability insurance and must register their dog with Lumberton police for a fee of $25, along with photographs of the dog. The dogs must bear permanent identification such as a microchip and must be spayed or neutered at the “appropriate age.” Failing to comply with the ordinance can result in the dog being seized.
Horne said his office has not received any requests from dog owners looking to appeal their pets’ designation as vicious. Owners can appeal their dog’s classification in writing to the police chief, and the appeal will be forwarded for a review by a three-member panel.
The Animal Control officer position is being advertised on the city’s website.
The job post says applicants should have “general knowledge of the law and regulations governing the control and protection of animals; ability to recognize rabies symptoms and some knowledge of methods and procedures to be followed; ability to utilize physical strength in order to control large animals and relocating heavy animal cages; ability to work in adverse weather conditions.”
Applicants should be high school graduates with a drivers license. The position pays from $25,492 to $26,783 in salary and includes an “excellent benefit package.”
Sarah Willets can be reached at 910-816-1974 or on Twitter @Sarah_Willets.