MERCER COUNTY, WV (WVNS) — Dog owners in Mercer County can expect a new enforcement of a revamped leash law in Mercer County.

Officials with the Mercer County Commission reported via social media the leash laws in the County have been revamped. The County Commission has reportedly received numerous complaints from residents in Mercer County that dogs are running loose, destroying property and inflicting personal injury.

The Mercer County Commission has ordained, in accordance with West Virginia Code (19-20-6), a leash law that prohibits owners from allowing their dogs to be at large in Mercer County without facing action by law enforcement. This allows officers to issue citations, assess fines and the destruction of dogs for violation of the leash law.

The leash law specifies: The owner of a dog shall not allow their dog to roam at large in Mercer County. The ordinance describes “roaming at large” as: a dog is considered at large whenever it is not on the owner’s property, property with the property owner’s express permission, or under the physical control of a physically responsible person for the dog. The owner of a dog must confine their dog on their own premises if they are without a leash. No person shall take any dog onto the streets, sidewalks or public places in Mercer County without a leash or under the person’s control.

The ordinance also states that it is the duty of the Animal Control Officer and/or any law enforcement officer to seize any dog at large in Mercer County, whether license or unlicensed. All dogs will be impounded and owners will have five days from the time the notice from impounding was received to redeem the dog by paying the dog warden or humane society officer all the costs assessed against the dog. After the release of the dog, the owner will be required to receive a license for the dog from the Court House and to get the dog vaccinated under WV State Code 19-20A-2.

A citation shall be issued to any owner of a dog found violating this ordinance. Any person who is convicted of violating this ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be assessed a fine of not less than $25.00 nor more than $100.00, in addition to any court costs assessed. The incidence of any one dog at large in any 12 hour period is considered a single violation of the ordinance.