Dawson residents learn ins, outs of dog enforcement
By Mark Hofmann
Published: Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 6:40 p.m.
Members of the Tri-Town Community Crime Watch met in Dawson with the dog enforcement warden for Fayette and Westmoreland counties to provide information and answer questions concerning dog laws.
Bruce Minick, dog warden, said his jurisdiction of enforcement is dog and rabies laws as well as kennel laws, which includes inspections of kennels in the area. He noted that anyone with a minimum of 26 dogs must have a kennel license. He added that everything else falls into crimes code, which Minick cannot enforce.
For example, a barking dog falls under public disturbance, which he cannot enforce. He suggested contacting Trooper Adam Janosko, the humane officer liaison with the state police at Uniontown, and even though the Belle Vernon barracks covers Dawson, Janosko can cover Dawson, too.
Minick added that any police officer can enforce a dog law, but only if it's in the municipality in which they cover.
When residents are faced with problems like dogs running loose, Minick said to call him and leave a message with information, including the dog keeper's name, address or street where they reside and a description of the dog. At that point, Minick can search a database to see if they own the dog; if they don't, he sends them a form letter.
“If I don't get it back, I pay them a visit,” Minick said, adding that if there's recurring incidents of dogs entering residential property, a resident can contact Minick so he can provide a dog trap free of charge. The dog's owner will have a violation against them, and the property owner may have to testify in court.
“You have to testify, or I can't do anything,” Minick said.
In certain situations, Minick said a resident can legally kill a dog, but a person should know the laws and it must be a good reason, like if the dog is posing an immediate threat or danger.
Minick reminded residents to get their dogs licensed and have their rabies shots up to date because he'll be in the area to check.
Dog laws and electronic dog license forms can be found online at wwwlicenseyourdogPA.com, where a complaint can also be made, or by calling 1-877-DOG-TIP1 to report any problems.
In other business, Dawson Code Enforcement Officer Rita Bornstein addressed issues concerning curfew. Residents reportedly have seen teenagers roaming the neighborhood late at night.
Bornstein told residents that if those breaking curfew are warned three times by the mayor and members of council, then action can be taken in district court.
The curfew in Dawson is 9:30 p.m.
Next crime watch meeting is 7 p.m. Sept. 16 in the Vanderbilt Borough Building.
Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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