The dog days of summer may soon be upon us, and Lynda Gordon wants some action from the city and county before a bad situation becomes worse.
Addressing the Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety Wednesday, Logansport resident Gordon said her purpose was not to complain. Instead, she wants to help. For far too long, she said, this community has suffered an animal problem.
And over the last few weeks, she has had to endure a pitbull running loose in her neighborhood. She has called dispatch to report the dog many times, with the latest call resulting in Gordon being told she had to keep the canine from Friday evening though Monday morning when someone would be available to attend to the situation.
Stating it is not her responsibility to take care of someone else’s animal, she added that “this has become aggravating. I don’t want someone else’s animal in my yard,” which is fenced-in. Plus, she said, her own Chihuahua cannot roam in the lawn without constant supervision for fear of the pitbull attacking it.
“I don’t want to see a child or an elderly person get bit by this dog,” she said. “We need to fix this problem.”
Mayor Chris Martin agreed, acknowledging that Logansport has had an animal problem for years. It’s a concern that doesn’t garner attention, though, until people like Gordon come before the board. So, he asked for the community to notify his office, to come to meetings, and to provide information on the situation.
Similarly, his office, coupled with the fire chief, police chief, city council, and – possibly – county council members could hold a discussion about adding a new employee to the roster, he said. However, that new employee would not be able to start until January 2022. Currently, “we’re relying on one guy to work 24 hours a day, 365 days a year,” Martin said.
Gordon said that solution is unacceptable. The problem is now, she said, not one that can wait to be remedied.
Lisa Terry, board member and Cass County Humane Society director, said a good avenue might be forming a committee to look at the situation and decide upon the best course of action for the city and county. “We don’t want the animals, children, or elderly hurt. If we could get the community aware of this issue, we could move forward.”
“There is no simple solution that can be fixed today,” said Logansport Police Chief Travis Yike. “We have one person working the entire county on his own.”
Plus, Yike said, if dispatch isn’t properly relaying all messages, then that’s another issue that needs to be addressed.
According to Gordon, she called dispatch at least a dozen times, but Brian Hyder, animal control officer, said he has been called to her residence only once.
And when he issues citations to owners, Hyder said the first ticket is $100, a second is $250, and a third followed by any future tickets is $500.
But even those fees seem low to Terry. “The amount is way too cheap,” she said. “People need a wake-up call.”
Another wrench in the system, said Kelly Leeman, city attorney, is that complainants don’t want to testify against their neighbors in court because they’re afraid of not being liked by the neighbor. So, the case fails due to a lack of prosecution witnesses.
If the problem is to be resolved, then it must fall to the community as a whole to work together, said Terry.
The mayor said if a committee is formed, then the group could look at the option of hiring someone on a contractual basis. The option could then be recommended to the board. Hopefully, he added, this would be one way to get a fix now, and then look at hiring a new employee next year.
NEW OFFICER AND POLICE POLICY
Chief Yike requested and the board approved the hiring of Marcus Record as a new Logansport Police Department officer. A 2014 graduate of Logansport High School, Record attended Indiana University Kokomo and was employed as an electrician with Dilling Group.
He has passed all requirements needed to join the force. His official start date was Wednesday.
Yike also received approval to update the LPD’s Standard Operating Procedures to include a pregnancy/maternity policy. The purpose behind the policy is to allow an officer to remain working full time while guarding against risks associated with job duties.
Jan Fawley, Logansport Parks Department administrator, said there will be an open house from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, April 29, at McHale Complex. The remodel of the facility began March 1 and is now complete. The community is welcome to visit the kitchen.