Killing of pet leads Boyle to review its dog ordinance

March 25, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Two weeks ago, Marquita Long rushed from Stanford to her Crystal Springs home in Boyle County.

Her 18-year-old niece had called her on the cell phone, screaming while her 12-year-old daughter puked in the background.

The teens were watching the neighbor's Rottweiler grab the family Yorkshire terrier, Max, by its hind quarters and flip it around the yard.

Long remembers running from her car and grabbing a towel. Before she could reach Max, the Rottweiler had taken hold of the 8-pound dog again.

Max died that day. People sent flowers, cookies and cards to the Long house.

"It was like someone had died," Long said.

Now she wants Boyle County Fiscal Court to take a second look at its dog and cat ordinance. It was written in 1978. Magistrates talked briefly about Richard Campbell, county attorney, reviewing the ordinance at their meeting Tuesday.


"Maybe if the ordinance is updated, changed, maybe Max wouldn't have died in vain," she said.

The Rottweiler was contained properly inside a wooden fence but apparently had dug a hole under it to escape.

The number listed in the phone book for the dog's owner, Randy Darland, has been disconnected, and he couldn't be contacted for comment.

Larry Gover, animal control officer, said that there was nothing the county could do under its ordinance, except to cite the owner for letting the dog run at large. There is nothing in the ordinance or state law that prohibits one dog from killing another.

The state law does require owners to show proof of rabies vaccinations when they pick up their animals from animal control. It has not been enforced in Boyle County, Gover said, but likely will be in the future.

The Rottweiler owner was ordered by a judge to show proof of vaccination and complied, Gover said.

Max's death has taken its toll on the Long family. Marquita Long's husband threw out his back digging Max's grave and had to take off work. Marquita Long has ordered stun guns for herself and her niece, and she now drives her daughter to the bus stop. When they walk in the neighborhood, she carries a cane and pepper spray.

"That dog should have just bit me and tore my heart off," Marquita Long said.

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