CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- The city of Chippewa Falls is trying to reduce the number of pet attacks by hitting the wallets of pet owners harder than ever.
The city is increasing fines for when pets bite or attack another animal or person. And Chippewa Falls Mayor says, it is just one of the changes that are being made to insure safety of people, pets and their owners within the city limits.
“The problem is not with the animals, the problem is with the owners,” Mayor Greg Hoffman.
He says the message is simple - pets with a temper are not welcome in the city.
“The vicious animal is one that first off - gets out of control; not only attacking people but also attacks other animal and other pets,” explained Hoffman.
And now a vicious animal offense will cost owners $263.50, compared to $169.00 before.
“I had a few experiences where I've been walking my dog and the dog off the leash ran at me. I've actually been attacked by a dog off a leash,” said Dog owner Anna Mehagen.
She also strongly agrees with another recent change - requiring all animals outside fenced property be on a leash.
“As a pet owner you have to take responsibility, and if you have a dog that can be vicious you have to be super careful,” said Mehagen.
“I think that if your pet is trained and stays in the yard even though it's not a fenced in yard, I believe they don't need to be on a leash,” shared his opinion another dog owner Steve, who walked his two dogs at Chippewa Falls Dog Park.
Something to remember though - the city says if the pet is running loose the bite fine now is nearly 100 dollars more expensive. And any second bite could result in the animal being euthanized.
“I was advocating for higher fines. I think that we need to have, really put some impact on people that we're not going to tolerate it,” said Hoffman.
Hoffman says putting muzzles on the obviously aggressive animals, shortening the leash by 2 feet, and having proof of liability insurance for vicious animals - are all part of the proactive effort to reduce animal attacks.
“The whole intent here is not to be mean-spirited about pets. I think pets are great, but they need to be controlled,” added Hoffman.
Mayor Hoffman says only the small portion of fines goes to the city. The majority of the money goes to the state. Hoffman says the city wants people to have pets, but so it wouldn't come at the expense of city residents and other pets’ safety and health.