Milltown council again focuses on dog issues
By Chris Adams, Contributing Writer
A couple whose cat was mauled to death last month told the Milltown Town Council at its meeting on Aug. 8 that the pit bull dogs they say were responsible are still running loose at times.
John and Ronda Petrysian, who live on the Harrison County side of town and first addressed the town council at its July 11 meeting, two days after their cat was killed, said that Harrison County Animal Control came out on July 20, but one of the dogs was seen running loose a week later.
“I thought that once (the dogs’ owners) were cited, that if (the dogs) were loose again, they would be picked up,” Ronda Petrysian said.
She added that a message was left with Harrison County Animal Control, but the Petrysians hadn’t received a return call in several days.
“Is it going to take someone’s child being mauled or grandchild being mauled before these dogs are taken away?” Petrysian asked.
Milltown Police Chief Jimmie Vincent said that, in addition to the $200 citation Harrison County Animal Control issued to the dogs’ owner, the town issued one for $75. Beyond that, there isn’t anything his department can do, he said.
“We can’t take those dogs without a court order,” he said, adding that even with one his department doesn’t have the necessary equipment to confiscate the dogs.
Town Council President Jerry Mackey said he is willing to contact the Harrison County Board of Commissioners, which oversees Harrison County Animal Control, but he encouraged the Petrysians to do so, as well.
In a related matter, the council earlier in the meeting approved Daniel Brear’s appeal of a $75 citation in a different matter for his dogs running loose.
“We do not purposely allow our dogs to just run,” Brear said. “We do have a cable lead that they go out on one at a time.”
The issue, he said, is the dogs tend to get out when his 5-year-old daughter is going outside to play with her older brothers.
Brear said he understands it’s an issue and has taken steps to ensure the dogs do not continue to get loose. He said he installed an in-ground electric fence, but there was a break in the line, which prevents the fence from working, and he hasn’t had time to repair it.
“We’re doing the best we can to keep the dogs from getting out, and they have not gotten out since that citation had been issued,” Brear said.
Clerk-Treasurer Alicia Lutz, who lives next to Brear, agreed that the dogs haven’t gotten loose since the citation was written, but she noted that she had to speak with Brear on two separate occasions before that.
Lutz added that a dog that Brear said he no longer owns ran toward her 2-1/2-year-old grandson one day.
Councilman Justin Barnes said since it sounds like Brear is making an effort, he would be willing to make a motion to waive the citation with the understanding that if the dogs get loose again, Brear not only will receive a new citation, but will have to pay the previous one.
Mackey voted with Barnes, but Melton dissented after John Petrysian questioned if this would set a precedent.
Barnes said the difference between Brear’s situation and that of the owner of the pit bulls is Brear is making an effort, whereas the pit bull owner didn’t even appeal.
In other business, the town council:
•Voted 3-0 to accept Tim Riddle’s offer to purchase an approximately 0.03-acre piece of property along Senn Court for $1,000. The council moved forward with selling the abandoned public right-of-way to Riddle, who lives along the dead-end street and earlier expressed interest in the property, after listing the property and not receiving any bids.
•Approved, 3-0, the third and final pay application from Mitchell and Stark Construction for the sludge drying beds project at the wastewater treatment plant in the amount of $26,674.70. This releases the rest of the project’s retainage. Payment is contingent upon the town’s receipt of its America Rescue Plan Act funds.
•Voted 3-0 to approve an invoice of $1,000 for The Lohden Boys, who were to perform on the first night of the Milltown Community Festival. The invoice was paid from the town’s Events Fund.
•Was informed by Vincent that the new non-emergency phone number for the Milltown Police Dept. is 1-812-407-5364.
The town council’s next meeting will be Monday, Sept. 12, at 7 p.m. at the town hall. The meeting will also include the public hearing for the town’s 2023 budget.