The city of Marshall’s Animal Services office is asking dog owners to be aware that an increase in enforcement of “animal running at large” violations will begin next week.

“Most pet owners in the city are responsible and take care to ensure that their animals do not run loose,” Marshall Police Department Lt. Len Ames said in a news release, “but we have had an increase in reported dog bites and with school starting in the next couple weeks, we are working to ensure that our streets are safe for our children and the community in general.”

Animal Services officers will be visiting pet owners who have dogs that are not in compliance with the city of Marshall’s “leash law” and citations will be issued.

If the officers are unable to contact the owner of a loose dog, the dog may be caught and brought to the animal shelter. A fee will be charged for the release of the dog to the owner.

“There is a number of truly stray dogs in the city and an increased effort will be made to catch or trap those dogs as well,” Ames said. “We will make every effort to find forever homes and rescues for these dogs that do not have owners or have owners who refuse to claim their dog.”

Any trapping will be done very early in the morning or late in the day, and no traps will be left unmonitored for more than 30 minutes. There will not be more than two active traps at any given time.

All trapped dogs will be scanned for microchips or tags that identify the dog’s owner and the owner will be notified that their animal is being housed at the Marshall animal shelter.

“There will be an increase in our children walking to and from school and bus stops in the next few weeks so please help us in our effort to keep our community safe,” Ames said.