PARLIER – At the latest Parlier City Council meeting, council approved two resolutions that should help the city take substantive steps to deal with the problem of feral – often vicious – dogs running with impunity on the city streets.
The council voted at its meeting on July 20 to award a building contract to Vimahemo Construction Inc. to construct an 18-foot by 30-foot kennel. Police Chief David Cerda said the new kennel, which will be paid for with FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funds, will effectively double the city’s existing capacity to house strays.
Council also approved an ordinance that amends the city’s municipal code to beef up those chapters that relate to the keeping, treatment and use of dogs, cats and domestic animals. In short, the 21-page ordinance allows the police and animal control officers greater discretion when dealing with feral dogs.
The ordinance also strengthens those sections of the code that deal with owners’ responsibilities with respect to licenses, vaccinations, custodial duties and spaying and neutering of pets.
TOO MANY DOGS, TOO FEW KENNELS
At the council meeting, Cerda acknowledged that the existing kennel capacity is insufficient to deal with the city’s burgeoning population of feral dogs.
“We have five cages and one is reserved for vicious animals,” Cerda said. “There’s a huge overpopulation of strays in the community.”
City Manager Sonia Hall said when the kennel is full, the onus of finding alternatives falls to the city.
“We check with other cities and see if they have room,” Hall said. She acknowledged the city paid to transport strays to outside kennels. “We work with Bambis Army to find people willing to foster the dogs.”
Bambis is a Parlier-based nonprofit that attempts to connect individuals who want to adopt with available animals – dogs, cats, birds, etc.
A TOWN FED UP, AND BEETHOVEN
The issue of vicious, stray dogs is not new to Parlier. On any given day, Manning Avenue has dog carcasses in various degrees of decay lining the street.
Parlier resident Fernando Banuelos told council a pack of five dogs regularly haunts his neighborhood.
“In the morning there are two,” Banuelos said. “When my mother waters her grass, they’re after her.”
Banuelos told the council he and other Parlier residents feel the city is placing the safety of these stray dogs above that of the residents.
“What is the city going to do now in terms of preventative measures?” Banuelos asked.
On July 21 at 6 p.m., Savannah Angulo went to Pac Auto to shop for a new car. She brought along Beethoven, her six-month-old St. Bernard.
“It was hot and he went to look for a place to lie down,” Angulo said.
Salesman Bob Perales was showing Angulo vehicles. He said he saw something cross the street.
“It was a pit and another black dog,” Perales said.
According to both Angulo – she spoke at the council meeting and to the Times – and Perales, the pitbull attacked Beethoven as he dozed in the shade.
“He (pit) just kept coming,” Perales said. “I kicked him six or seven times and got him to back off.” Angulo also kicked the dog and suffered a bite wound to her toe. Beethoven suffered a bite to one of his paws.
“He then attacked again,” Perales said. “I kicked him under the jaw and he let loose.”
However, the pit was not deterred. Perales said the dog continued to circle, looking for another opening to attack. Only after Perales positioned himself between the dog and the puppy, did the pitbull abandon the assault and run away.
But this wasn’t the first time Perales dealt with an aggressive stray dog on his lot.
“A while back, a German Shepherd tore the bumper off one of the cars,” he said. “It must have been going after a cat.”
TUOLUMNE STREET IMPROVEMENT PROJECT
On a more pedestrian issue, the council approved a resolution to award the Tuolumne Streets Pedestrian Safety Improvement Project to Ares Engineering, LLC, who underbid JT2, Inc. dba Todd Companies for the project.
According to a report from the city engineer, the project involves removing concrete and demolishing asphalt at the intersection of I and Tuolumne streets. Ares will install a new curb, gutter, curb ramps, asphalt and striping. The project also calls for the installation of solar rectangular rapid flashing beacons and In-Roadway Warning Lights.
Javier Andrade, city engineer, said the majority of the project will be completed by October. He said the expected final completion date will be November 2024. The project is estimated to cost $190,880.