S.E. Shaw, director of Pine Bluff Animal Control, said he wants to make more residents aware of the rules and regulations the city has in regard to owning and caring for animals.

Shaw, who reached out to the Commercial for this story, said that Pine Bluff Animal Control is concerned with the welfare of all animals, both domestic and wild, in the community.

Shaw said that Animal Control is responsible for (1) the sheltering of unwanted, abandoned, stray, and impounded animals. (2) The enforcement of the City's Animal Codes relating to the keeping restraint and humane treatment of animals. (3) The education of the public, concerning proper animal care and responsible animal ownership. (4) The responsible placement of adoptable animals. (5) The humane disposition of unwanted, unadoptable, sick, or injured animals.

Pine Bluff Animal Control is obligated morally, ethically and legally to enforce City Codes and to shelter animals in such a way as to ensure the public safety of all species and to show respect for the dignity and worth of all creatures, Shaw said, adding that more people should realize that caring for an animal is a “big responsibility” so that they won't end up at the shelter.

According to City of Pine Bluff's Animal Code of Ordinances, Article II Section 5-27, it shall be unlawful for any person to keep any vicious dog within the city limits.

A vicious dog is defined as (1) any dog that causes death or serious injury to a person engaged in lawful activity. (2) On two or more occasions within a 12 month period, the dog attacks or bites without provocation and with such severity as to cause physical injury or property damage to a person engaged in lawful activity. (3) While off the property of its owner and without provocation, any dog that kills or seriously injures another domesticated animal. (4) Any dog that is trained for dog fighting or is owned or kept for the purpose of dog fighting.

The ordinance goes on to say that a pit bull breed dog, other than an AKC or UKC (American Staffordshire Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier) registered show dog, is restricted within the city limits of Pine Bluff, and must be registered pursuant to the provisions of section 5-43 of this Code.

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep within the city limits of Pine Bluff any pit bull dog as defined in section 5-26, except in compliance with the provisions of section 5-43 of this Code.

Also in the Code of Ordinances, section 5-28 explains vaccinations.

All dogs and cats in the city which are over the age of 4 months and which are subject to rabies shall be vaccinated according to the label duration of the vaccine.

A metal tag evidencing such vaccination shall be affixed to the harness or collar of every dog and cat in the city. Any person who shall keep any pet in the city without first having it vaccinated against rabies, annually or every three years dependent on the vaccine, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 5-29 discussing the licensing of animals.

It is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to own, keep, or harbor a dog or cat within the corporate limits of the city without having first paid a license fee on the animal.

Section 5-30 discusses the number of animals allowed in the city.

It shall be unlawful for any person to keep or harbor a combination of more than four dogs or cats or more than five dogs and cats within the corporate limits of the city without first obtaining a kennel license in conformity with city zoning ordinances and complying with the terms and conditions of section 5-54 of these provisions. An exception shall be made for a litter of pups, kittens, or other young animals.

Section 5-31 discusses the restraint and confinement of animals.

It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog to fail to keep such an animal under restraint or to permit such animal to run at large upon the streets and public ways of the city.

A chain or leash lead may not be used as the permanent means of restraining a dog or other animal.

Section 5-34 discusses the relinquishment of an animal to the animal control.

It shall be unlawful for any person to abandon an animal within the corporate limits of the city. Any person desiring to relinquish an animal shall take it to the animal control center and pay the relinquishment fee. Any animal relinquished becomes the property of animal control and may be transferred to Jefferson County/Pine Bluff Humane Society, a similar organization, or may be euthanized (put to death) without delay at the discretion of the animal control officer.

Section 5-35 discusses the impounding, release of or euthanization of animals.

An animal control officer or a police officer may seize, impound, and humanely confine to an animal shelter or hospital any of the following animals: any dog or cat without a valid license tag, any animal at large, any animal constituting a public nuisance or considered a danger to the public, any animal that is in violation of any quarantine or confinement order of the city's animal control officer, etc.

Section 5-36 discusses leaving notices to the owner and the redemption of animals.

Upon impoundment of a dog, the department of animal control shall immediately attempt to notify the owner by certified mail, return receipt requested. Notice shall also be placed on the premises of the owner of the dog, if known.

The owner may claim their dog by reimbursing the city the cost of the notice and all other costs and applicable fees established by the city.

Failure to claim the animal within a specified period of time may result in the disposition of the animal.

There are various fees applied to animals based on specifications. The fees can be found by viewing the Pine Bluff City Code Ordinances at cityofpinebluff.com.

Section 5-43 discusses dangerous dog declaration and pit bull dogs' restriction.

If the department of Animal Control has cause to believe a dog is dangerous, the department may find and declare such a dog a dangerous dog and the animal shall be immediately released and surrendered by the owner or custodian thereof to the animal control department until a permit for the animal is obtained. The owner shall have five days from delivery of notice that the dog is deemed dangerous and that a permit is required to keep the dog in the city to obtain the permit.

All dangerous dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in an enclosed and locked pen or physical structure upon the premises of the owner.

Section 5-44 discusses animal bites.

Any animal which has bitten a person is a rabies suspect and such animals shall be immediately released by the owner or custodian for quarantine confinement in a veterinary hospital approved by the city or at the animal control center of the city for a period of 10 days or within an enclosure approved by the animal control director.

The Code of Ordinances provides much more information that can be found on the city's website at www.cityofpinebluff.com.

The Pine Bluff Animal Shelter is located at 901 N. Haverty Street in Martin Luther King Jr. Park. The adoption fee is $20, and adoptions come with a $60 voucher that goes toward spaying and neutering costs. Details: (870) 543-5135.