Dog owners beware. Likely starting a month from now, Los Angeles Police and L.A. City Animal Services officers will soon be able to issue new “citations” to people who commit offenses like urinating in public,dumping trash on public streets, or having your dogs off leash on city streets and parks. Other violations could include drinking in public, using fireworks, and smoking in prohibited areas.
Spearheaded by L.A. City Council member Paul Koretz, the new pilot program called “Administrative Citation Enforcement” gives city departments like the L.A.P.D. and Animal Services the ability to bypass the traditional court related route that would result in court fines and/or appearances.
Koretz told the L.A.Times that officers were usually reluctant to “initiate” court cases for minor offenses hence making it difficult to enforce these Quality-of-life issues. “There is no good appropriate action with teeth,” said Koretz, who proposed the concept for the program which was approved by the council last year. For instance, people can ignore repeated warnings about walking their dogs off leash, he said. “The city just needs a little clout,” Koretz said. “This is one of the most frequent complaints we get: that the city doesn’t enforce its regulation — and it’s true.”
According to the L.A. Times — Under the program, most first offenses would be $250, the second $500 and the third $1,000. Fines for animal-related offenses begin at $100, then increase to $250 and then $500. In each incident, officers can still decide whether to issue a warning, a financial penalty or a criminal case.
The program, which is expected to generate $1.59 million in net revenue annually, still requires final approval from Mayor Eric Garcetti before it can go into effect. It is believed the Mayor will back the measure.
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