Police Encourage Pet Owners to be More Responsible

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By Evie Allen
By Benjy Jeffords

HARRISBURG -- Leaders in Harrisburg are encouraging owners to keep their pets in check.

As people and animals spend more time outside, instances of dog bites usually go up along with the temperature.

Managers at the Harrisburg Post Office say just last month, three of their letter carriers were bitten by dogs. So, police are calling on residents to be more responsible with their animals. Or face action by the city.

Harrisburg post office officials say they've seen a significant number of instances where dogs interfere with mail delivery.

"You don't need to have it anywhere near where the mailman or other people might walk up and down the sidewalk. You don't need to chain it there," urges Harrisburg Police Chief Bob Smith.
           
Chief Smith says residents simply need to obey city ordinances and keep the animals on a strong leash or fenced in.
 
"You can't allow it to get out of your property or outside your house without being attended. It's got to be on a leash and on a good restraining device," adds Smith.
 
William Fowler has had his dog Charlie for seven years. Charlie is one of his family's three dogs. Fowler says he's never had a problem with Charlie biting people but he has ran off before.
 
"He has gotten loose when he was younger. He's better about taking off on us now," explains Fowler.
 
Fowler says he keeps Charlie more restrained now but admits his dogs don't like strangers. 
 
"If they start acting up we'll just put them outside. We have a fence in the back yard."
 
The Police Chief says taking steps like that to prevent bites will keep residents safe and prevent problems.
 
"It's not worth it. You're going to have a friend you loose over this. Somebody is going to get injured. Usually when people come to your house they're wanting to have a good time and not end up in the E.R." 
 
If you have a dog that does bite and gets loose, the chief warns you could face a ticket costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, especially if the animal hasn't had its shots.
 
"If you have an animal and you're not properly caring for it or you're not properly restraining it, then we have fines in place and we will write citations for it," he says.
 
To get a copy of ordinances on dog ownership in Harrisburg, residents can go to Harrisburg City Hall.
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