CARPENDALE -- “I know you have a lot of dog problems. I hate that. I can't be everywhere,” said Mineral County Humane Officer Melissa Kidwell as she met recently with residents in Carpendale.

By Ronda Wertman
Tribune Correspondent
CARPENDALE -- “I know you have a lot of dog problems. I hate that. I can’t be everywhere,” said Mineral County Humane Officer Melissa Kidwell as she met recently with residents in Carpendale.
“If you see something, say something. I love that,” she said, urging residents to report when a dog is aggressive.
Kidwell noted that five dogs in Carpendale have had to be euthanized due to dilatory owners. She add that the only time in her 14 year career that she has been bit was a by a beagle in Carpendale.
“Report it, don’t be afraid. Don’t fear retribution,” she said, urging residents to call her office rather than the town hall.
“If it bites or doesn’t bite, please report it,” she added, noting that reporting aggressive behavior may keep a person or another animal from being bitten.
“The one thing I stress around here is rabies shots,” Kidwell said, noting that clinics are held throughout the county.
Kidwell explained the importance of being a good pet owner. “Get a shock collar, make them listen, spend the time with them,” she said.
“Pit bulls are not for everybody,” she said, noting that they are not apartment dogs, not dogs to put out on a chain.
“If you don’t control your dog, I will control it for you one way or another,” Kidwell said.
“Report it; let me come down. I do carry your leash law,” she told residents.
She also advised residents, “If a dog is aggressive and trying to attack, you have the right to protect yourself.”
“Is it okay to kill a dog on your property if it’s causing harm to a companion animal or livestock? Yes,” she said, adding that laws are contradictory about shooting in the city limits.
“These dogs are going to hurt somebody if they aren’t on a leash. Carry a stick, get some mace,” Kidwell suggested.
“Report it anytime, that’s what we are here for. I will do what I can under the law,” she said, explaining the process that includes a warning for a first attack on another dog. The second time the owner must get a vicious dog license and if there is a third complaint within two years, a warrant is issued.
“It’s all because you can’t listen and don’t want to,” she said of negligent owners.
If after three years there have been no issues, the dog would start the warning process over again if an attack would happen.
Explaining that she and one other officer cover the entire county, Kidwell urged residents to leave a message, adding that someone will return the call.
In addition to responding to complaints, the officers are also responsible for all the operations at the pound from feeding and walking to cleaning up and cutting the grass.
While the county does not pick up cats or skunks, Kidwell explained, “We offer traps you can put a deposit on. But you have to bring them to us. It’s not helping to leave them out there.”
She is also adamant about spaying and neutering pets. “Don’t breed dogs; we don’t need puppies,” she said.