The thrill of getting a pet is something many college students look forward once they live off campus. During this time, however, there are laws that students with pets should be aware of.
Seeing people walking their dogs is not an unusual sight in Manhattan neighborhoods. Occasionally, some pet owners allow their dog to walk without on a leash. What some may not know is that this a citable offense in the city of Manhattan.
“It causes a public safety hazard because sometimes the dogs can go out in the street,” said Angela Smith, a T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter technician. “Sometimes really sweet dogs can be aggressive when their owners aren’t home and that creates a safety issue for the public walking down the street because (the dog) may feel the need to chase that person off his property. It also has a risk of disease.”
This is becoming a growing problem, as students that move to Manhattan at the start of the school year may be unaware of the leash law. However, the leash law plays a part in keeping pets and city residents safe.
“For this time of year, it seems to be students are coming from out of town where leash laws are not enforced or nonexistent,” Smith said. “It is a citable offense here, you can get a ticket for not having your dog on a leash just like you can get a ticket for speeding. In our community, there have been too many dog attacks and too many car accidents caused by dogs, either the person swerving to avoid the dog or the dog being hit by the car. So laws are enforced here.”
The state of Kansas does not have a statewide leash law. So residents who grew up elsewhere in the state may be unaware of the enforcement of the leash law in Manhattan.
Another argument supporting the law is it attends to stray dogs wandering around. These animals will have to be captured and placed into a shelter if a resident calls to report the animal.
“Animal Control will get the call from the complainant, who will be at home and have a dog that is not their dog in their yard,” Smith said. “They will call the police, and the police will send Animal Control (to) pick up the animal and impound it at the shelter.”
It is also vital that all pets be registered. According to section 6-36 of the Manhattan City Ordinance, all dogs and cats over the age of 4 months must be registered with the city, otherwise it is a citable offense.
“The registration is a way of the city keeping track of the rabies vaccines to keep in compliance with the state of Kansas’ laws,” Smith said.
According to the ordinance, a citizen must have proof of rabies vaccination and pay a fine to get a pet registered. The fine differs depending on the age of the pet, and whether or not the pet has been neutered.