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County Approves Leash Law


As of today, you're supposed to keep your dogs on a leash or in a fenced-in area if you live in portions of Greene County that are served by Springfield city sewer and water service. But the county is not ready to enforce the ordinance just yet. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.

As of today (Tuesday), you're supposed to keep your dogs on a leash or in a fenced-in area if you live in portions of Greene County that are served by Springfield city sewer and water service.

But the county is not ready to enforce the ordinance just yet.

The Greene County Commission Monday approved the first animal control ordinance for the county.

Dogs found running loose in the designated area may be impounded by the Springfield-Greene County Animal Control Division.

Kevin Gipson is Director of the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

Gipson says that without the ordinance, some subdivisions that straddle the city-county line had different standards.

In parts of subdivisions that fell under county jurisdiction, Gipson says animal control could only intervene when a dog bit someone.

He says this will provide consistency.

The ordinance also sets out the procedure for designating a dog as vicious or a nuisance.

It's up to the Health Department Director to designate a dog as vicious or a nuisance...That's likely to happen when a dog behaves in a vicious or threatening way toward other animals or toward humans who are walking, biking or driving.

When a dog is declared vicious or a nuisance, the owner must apply for a yearly permit and keep the animal confined in an area that's subject to inspection by animal control officers.

Gipson says he has the authority to decide how to handle these dogs.

Gipson says it's unclear when the health department will begin enforcing the ordinance since it will have to educate dog owners first and hire an additional animal control officer.

The county set aside 94 thousand dollars in next year's budget to cover expenses related to enforcing the ordinance...Gipson says the county health department will use some of the money to add an officer to its eight-member animal control staff. He says the costs of countywide implementation would be much higher.