Too many dogs running loose in Yakima?

YAKIMA, Wash. -- Juan lives in a Yakima neighborhood where he says dogs roam without a collar. He says sometimes he sees up to five or six at a time.

"You don't know what kind of disease they have or if they're mean dogs or something like that," Juan said.

Juan says phone complaints to the city's animal control department don't seem to work.

"They don't show up. I mean you call them two, three times and then they don't come over here so why call them anymore," Juan said.
KIMA spoke with Ben Zigan, one of Yakima's animal control officers. He agrees that loose dogs are a problem in Yakima.

"A lot of people just don't want to take responsibility for it," Ben said. "They let them loose, they see other neighbors who have their dogs lose so they think it's OK."

Ben says his department is complaint driven. If they receive a phone they will look into it. However, Ben says dogs who are simply roaming without a collar aren't always the priority.

Officers are often busy responding to aggressive dogs or bites.

The city says tracking down the dogs isn't always easy. Sometimes, they'll get a complaint about a dog at a certain location. And, by the time they arrive on the actual street, the dog has already taken off.

KIMA pulled the numbers to find out the city issued 16 leash citations last year. They've haven't issued any leash citations this year.

Ben says it might be because the city tries to issue dog-at-large citations because it's a heftier fine.

For now, Juan says the dogs still roam his neighborhood. It makes him question if the city can do more to solve the problem.
"We have kids that are around here all the time so it's kind of scary," Juan said.

The city says a leash citation is $250. A dog-at-large fine can be $500.