Marfa Police Department Addressing City-Wide Issue with Loose Dogs
At the request of citizens, Chief of Police Estevan Marquez and Mayor Ann Marie Nafziger recently met with a group of community members to discuss the number of loose and unleashed dogs in Marfa. The Police Department is now working to educate the public on the issue.
Several citizens in attendance had been attacked and bitten by a loose dog. Others stated that their own leashed dog had been attacked and badly wounded by loose, aggressive dogs while walking in town. Chief Marquez reviewed the City’s ordinance regarding small animals, listened to citizens’ concerns, and agreed that the ordinance as it stands had not been properly enforced in the past. Marfa’s ordinance states that all animals must be securely confined on the owner’s premises and when off those premises must at all times be under physical restraint (by means of a leash, chain, cord, or similar device.)
“Basically, this means that if someone’s dog escapes their yard or home, is running around at large, or if a person is walking their dog without a leash, they’re in violation of the City ordinance,” said Chief Marquez.
City Council is in the process of reviewing and updating City ordinances and placed animal ordinances on their list of priorities earlier this year. Several citizens in attendance offered to join an effort to review and update the animal ordinance. Any citizens interested in participating should contact Peggy O’Brien, Assistant to the City Manager.
According to Chief Marquez, his officers will be re-educating the public and stepping up enforcement of the ordinance. First time violators will be warned. Second time offenders will receive a citation. Fines are set by the Municipal Court based on individual case and number of violations, not to exceed $500. Marquez also stressed the importance of victims filing a police report following an incident and that citizens should report any loose animals directly to the department.
Marfa Police Department’s on-call officers can be reached 24/7 at (432) 729-1841. Chief Estevan Marquez is available at firstname.lastname@example.org or 432 295-0014. Peggy O’Brien, Assistant to the City Manager, is available at email@example.com.