YUMA - The city of Somerton is enforcing a new city ordinance for unleashed dogs. The Somerton City Council approved the measure in June, taking over animal control responsibilities.
Regardless of where you live, letting your dog run loose can cost you a lot of money and possibly even cost you your pet.
According to yumasun.com, Somerton dog owners can face an average fine of more than $100 for each unrestrained dog.
The city will also charge you $10 for capturing the animal, plus another $10 per day for housing the animal at their temporary facility. After that, the dog is turned over to the Humane Society of Yuma. On top of the $180 paid to the city of Somerton, the costs keep climbing.
There's an initial impound fee of $25. After that, the dog will be given Bordatella and Distemper shots to protect the other animals in the facility.
Shots are another $35. Depending on if the dog has been fixed, there's a licensing fee, ranging from $13 to $25. If the dog isn't fixed, the owner can opt for an additional $50 penalty, or let the shelter spay or neuter the dog.
For every day the animal is sheltered, tack on another $10. If enough time passes, anywhere from three to five days, ownership transfers to the Humane Society of Yuma. If you want your dog back, you'll have to re-adopt.
Cookie Wagter of the Humane Society of Yuma says it's an easy situation to avoid, and she says leash laws are not unique to Somerton.
"There's a leash law, even when you live in the county. So people think when you live in the county, there isn't a leash law ... there is leash law. And don't let your dog run loose. It breaks my heart when people come in to reclaim their dog and they can't afford to pay the reclaim fees because they didn't take the time to get the license in the first place. And we do see it a lot. People can't afford to get their dogs back," says Wagter.
When that happens, the Humane Society of Yuma tries to find the dog a new home. Again, HSOY fees apply to all dogs caught running loose in the county, regardless of whether they are brought in from the city of Yuma, the city of Somerton, or anywhere in between.
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