When it comes to law enforcement, most likely would think of police officers stopping someone who has committed a traffic offense or perhaps ideas of arresting burglars comes to mind.
Few would think first of law enforcement as the community’s animal control agency, but in Redwood Falls that is certainly the case, as the local department is very involved with ensuring public safety by keeping the animal population under control.
That population the de-partment works with most often is the number of dogs in town, because in the city that is the area over which it has jurisdiction.
Under city law anyone who has a dog residing within the city limits must have that dog licensed.
A dog license, which may be acquired at city hall, costs $10 annually if the dog is neutered and $25 for a non-neutered animal.
That license must be renewed annually, with licenses expiring Dec. 31 of every year.
According to Mark Dressen, Redwood Falls police chief, the department takes animal control seriously and responds to calls it receives from residents, whether it is about a dog running loose in town or even the report of a nuisance dog that is barking excessively.
Dressen said the department receives 100-plus animal control calls each year, adding when someone calls about a nuisance dog the department does respond.
If the caller is not willing to sign a complaint an officer may just sit and listen in the neighborhood to hear whether or not the barking issue is prevalent.
Dressen said within the city limits there is a three dog limit per residence, and anyone who has more than that must obtain a kennel license, which includes a $75 annual fee and department inspections.
While barking dogs at unreasonable hours is one of the most common animal control calls the local department responds to in any given year, there are other issues the department does do for the community.
Dressen said if an individual in town gets bitten by a dog, they should report that bite to the police department. If blood is drawn, the dog which does the biting is placed in quarantine at the local animal shelter.
The fine for those who do not have a license for their dog is $60, and Dressen said when someone gets a dog there is a brief grace period before they are notified about the ordinance and their need to get a license without penalty.
Those who have questions about animal control or have a complaint are en-couraged to contact the police department.