VICKSBURG, Miss. (WJTV) – A new ordinance in the City of Vicksburg aims to protect meter readers and postal workers from vicious dogs.

Leaders said the ordinance, which was approved on Monday, will hold dog owners accountable. The ordinance will go into effect in 2022. Leaders hope the new rule will get a handle on owners whose dogs are found hindering the jobs of utility and postal workers.

“We’ve had to go out quite a few times in recent months to assist water and gas with reading meters and cutting off utilities to homes,” said Kasey Lindsey, Vicksburg Animal Control director.

According to city officials, it’s been a persistent problem where mostly meter readers were harassed and prevented from doing their jobs because of violent dogs. According to Mayor George Flaggs, Jr., the problem has worsened in recent months.

While there haven’t been reports to Vicksburg Animal Control of dog attacks this year, Lindsey said the number of calls to restrain an animal in recent months has nearly tripled.

“I have delivered newspapers before, but dogs are on leashes, but they’re still going to present themselves to be a threat because they’re trying to protect the property that they’re on,” said Kristopher Jones, who lives in Vicksburg.

“We want to try and work with people and say, ‘Please move your animals, so they can get to the meters with no issues,'” said Lindsey.

Dog owners who are found responsible will face a misdemeanor charge, a $300 fine and a $27 impound fee. Two dollars will be added to the impound fee every day after.