By ROB W. ANDERSON
The City of Hulbert Board of Trustees discussed the growing need to enforce animal control ordinances during its regular meeting on Thursday.
According to board trustee Ed Beckham, there has been a spike in the number of unleashed dogs running around town as a result of owner negligence or animal dumping, which needs to be addressed.
“We have a problem with our dogs,” said Beckham. “We talked about this once before sometime back and never did get a resolution. We need to determine who’s responsible for the pickup and begin enforcing the ordinance.”
The city office has been receiving the animal reports and public works employees have been responding to the calls, as defined in the city statute governing animal control. Beckham described a situation in which a public works employee picked up a dog that had been running free and subsequently released the animal to its owner when the owner reported responsibility for the dog.
“That’s wrong. Once they’ve taken that dog to be delivered to the pound, they can’t give it back to the [owner], according to the statute,” he said.
Because Hulbert, which only provides the pickup portion of the animal control system, does not have dog pound facilities, it contracts with a Tahlequah veterinarian to provide vaccinations and perform other protocols before the animal is placed in the local dog pound.
Trustee George Truitt read the statute aloud and noted the board can authorize the police chief or a city employee to serve as an animal control officer. To provide legal protection for all parties involved, the board decided that a police officer should accompany the public works employee on a pickup to serve as a witness to ensure everything goes according to statue.
“The dog has to be vaccinated and several things have to be done,” he said.
The board approved the annual Christmas stipend for employees, and approved placement of workers compensation refund into the escrow account.