Boyle wants to put more teeth in dog law

April 15, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

Ideas about how to contain vicious dogs in Boyle County were tossed around at the Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday as magistrates began to update the 25-year-old dog and cat ordinance.

Danville-Boyle County Humane Society suggested, as part of the revision, that pet owners buy tags that would cost $5 for neutered pets and $20 for those that aren't.

The law can't prevent dogs from harming people, and especially not other dogs, said Richard Campbell, county attorney. It can make owners contain dogs that have bitten humans.

More specific requirements for those dogs could be added, such as buried fencing, 8-feet high or partially covered kennels.

The revisions were prompted when a local Yorkie was killed by a Rotweiller. However, state law defines a vicious dog only if it harms a human, not other dogs, Campbell said.


District court, not animal control officers, determines if dog is vicious

Boyle County Animal Control and the Danville-Boyle County Humane Society wanted the ordinance to give animal control officers discretion for determining if a dog is vicious or dangerous. Campbell said the district court has that power.

County Treasurer Mary Lynn asked why a dog that lunges and bares its teeth at a child couldn't be considered dangerous. She said that there is a chow in Streamland that is tied to a rope and it lunges at her when she jogs, and it frightens her.

Campbell said that there is little that can be done until dogs harm someone.

In the unincorporated parts of the county, dogs on other people's property can be shot. Magistrate Phil Sammons said that he once had two dogs near his barn growl at him. He got a gun and said the only problem he had afterwards was that he had to bury the dogs.

Magistrates will continue to discuss revisions to the ordinance, including increasing fines. The cruelty to animals fine is now $10-$100, plus court costs. For a noisy animal, it is $5 -$15.

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