DUNKIRK – The city’s animal control officer has alerted officials to a problem with pit bull dogs being dumped just outside of city limits.
Steve Purol, who handles animal complaints within the city, said he has been noticing dead dogs near the Dunkirk Airport, Roberts Road, New Road, Route 5 and other areas near the city line.
“It is an alarming trend,” he said.
“I see many dead dogs’ bodies dumped, and the majority seem to be the pit bull breed,” said Purol. He said he knows that some shelters will not take the breed because it is difficult to find foster homes for them.
Purol attended the regular meeting of the Dunkirk Public Safety Committee on Thursday in the conference room at the city’s planning department.
Purol said police have been notified about the numerous dead dogs and will watch for people who drop them off.
Purol, who also handles parking tickets in the city, said the number of violations where vehicles have parked on the wrong side of the street has gone down this season. He said he believes city residents have grown accustomed to the 5 p.m. policy for moving vehicles on odd- and even-numbered days.
Police Chief David Ortolano said residents need to be sure to follow the law even when snow plowing is not needed.
Mike Porpiglia, representing the city’s department of public works, said most of the complaints of unplowed side streets were in locations where vehicles blocked the road. He said many streets are too narrow for a plow to pass if vehicles are parked on both sides of the street.
Fire Chief Keith Ahlstrom reported on the department’s billing and collections for ambulance transportation. He said the number of uninsured people is much higher that it was previously.
“In 2012, we had two [uninsured] people for the entire year, but in the last few months, we average two to three people each month,” he said.
The city started billing insurance carriers and patients for ambulance transports in 2012. Ahlstrom said that overall $318,000 has been collected with a cost of $26,000 for billing. He said net profits are $292,000.
Ahlstrom said city residents are not billed for anything left unpaid by insurance or if they do not have health coverage. He said the Common Council extended that courtesy to city residents when the transportation billing was authorized in late 2011.
Ahlstrom also said the number of calls for a patient requesting a transfer to a hospital has decreased. He said he believes this is because many people’s insurance does not cover payment for visits to hospital emergency rooms.
“We are also seeing a change in the Medicaid versus private insurance payments,” he said.
The majority of calls now are for patients who have Medicaid, he said.
Council members asked the fire chief if additional consideration has been given to upgrading the department’s members from basic life support technicians to advanced life support technicians.
Ahlstrom said the change has been considered but that he will need a direction from the Council and the mayor to proceed with further cost analysis.
The fire chief also reported that a comprehensive study on the three fire halls in the city will begin in April. He said he does not expect a formal report to be completed until September.
City leaders authorized the study to help determine the priority of repairs on the three structures and a feasibility study on reducing the number of halls to two.