BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The City of Biloxi is reminding pet owners of a city ordinance that could cost them if not followed. Right now, it's already costing taxpayers.
Over the last three months, more than 50 calls into the Biloxi Police Department's dispatch were about animals.
"Stray animals coming on people's property to dogs barking, cats tearing up gardens," said Biloxi Police Officer Joey Payne.
When an officer has to pick up a pet, they attempt to find the owner. But if the owner can't be located, the pet ends up at the Humane Society of South Mississippi.
"It's approximately $145 per animal, and that adds up pretty quick. Who pays for that? We have a fund and it's taxpayers that pay for that," Payne explained.
A litter of 10 pets dropped off costs taxpayers more than $1,400.
Officer Payne said another problem with pets on the loose is many become injured.
"If animals are running at large, they get in a busy roadway, they get hit and injured. Also, there are wild animals in this area. And if they go off into the woods, these wild animals could hurt them," said Payne.
When an injured pet is found, it's taken to an animal hospital. That's an additional cost the city could end up paying.
Officer Payne's advise for all pet owners is to follow the city ordinance which states: "At all times the animal must be under control by the owner or caretaker, which means in eyesight and at least verbal control."
Payne also recommends you get your pets fixed.
"It keeps them from wanting to get out. It keeps other animals from wanting to come to your property and it cuts down on the animal population," said Payne.
Officer Payne said if a pet is reunited with its owner some of the money spent on capturing and caring for it could be redeemed through the court.