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Dogs, signs discussed at Hammond meetings

One to two times a week, the Hammond Police department gets called about loose or stray dogs.

If they are caught, the officers don't have anywhere to go with them, said Police Chief Rick Coltrain.

In response to the problem, Coltrain presented two options at the Public Health and Safety Committee meeting on Monday night.

The first option is to hire a woman from North Hudson, who works on a "freelance-like" basis. She charges $300 for six months, plus $45 per call and mileage.

Once she retrieves the dogs, she would take them to the shelter in Woodbury, which charges $130 to hold the animals for a week.

Charges would be recouped through tickets given to the dog's owner, if identified.

"This is the best scenario at this point," said Coltrain.

Committee members questioned whether it is worth hiring a dog catcher to basically transport already caught dogs.

Coltrain responded the woman's mileage would cost the Village less than the officers' time and miles. He added the officers will stay in the Village, where they are expected to be.

The second option is to build a temporary dog kennel on Village property. Officers would be able to put dogs there until the catcher gets to town or the owner claims it.

The Committee voted unanimously to hire the dog catcher for six months and to build the temporary kennel.

A separate issue discussed at the meeting regarded speed signs.

At the regular Village Board meeting on Oct. 13, residents of Broadway Street brought a list of ideas to reduce the number of speeders in their neighborhood. One idea was to install digital speed signs in the Village.

Coltrain said one of the signs attached to a pole costs more than $1,000. Officers are able to download data collected from the unit onto a computer to see trends in the area.

On Monday, Coltrain borrowed Roberts' speed trailer. He said that unit would cost between $5,000 to $6,000.

Coltrain said he would continue to look into the signs and trailers.

Public Works

Mark Maple, owner of the house on blocks on Ridgeway and Fithian streets, approached the Committee about his property.

At the Village Board meeting on Oct. 13, he was told he needed to have significant progress toward setting the house or they would issue a raze order.

Maple brought along Jim Rush, a surveyor in the area for over 35 years.

Rush said he wasn't sure if Ridgeway Street was built on Maple's property or not. To find out, he said he would need to look back at aerial pictures and maps from when the railway was built.

"That's going to be horrendously expensive, even with GPS," Rush said.

If Ridgeway Street was built on Maple's property, he will not be able to meet Village setbacks and has lost property, Rush said.

After Rush presented his information, Village Attorney Tim Scott said Maple had a good case to get the property rezoned from commercial to residential.

"Chances of getting it rezoned are good," Scott said.