Thursday, April 3, 2008
Vicious dogs stir serious concern
By SUE WATSON
The Marshall County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Kenny Dickerson discussed problems with vicious or neglected dogs at the March 17 board meeting.
The discussion followed an incident March 15 on South Red Banks Road.
Dickerson said one dog was seized after his officers were called out to an incident where a pit bull attacked a neighbor’s dog, killing it.
Officers seized all dogs considered vicious at the location and carried them to the county’s pound. He said notice was served to the owner of the dogs again - since there had been a prior complaint about the animals.
Further inspection of the premises by officers uncovered other problems, he said.
“It’s one of the worst situations since I’ve been sheriff,” he said, adding that he expects the owner to be charged this time.
Officers confiscated all dogs that did not have a shelter. Dickerson said officers found some dogs staked out on the hillside and one dog had injuries. Several animals were lying in the mud and some were not able to reach food, he said.
“One dog was so vicious, the veterinarian would not accept it,” he added. “I would like the board to take action (by ordinance) on anyone who breeds pits for the purpose of fighting. I would like to see rules governing ownership.”
The owner allegedly had more dogs kept in a wooded area on Union Valley Road, he said. Officers found stakes in the woods, where animals were believed to have been kept without shelter.
Dickerson asked the board to expedite the completion of the dog ordinances and recommended the ordinances require secure kennels, food and water and that pit bulls be confined in them.
“If we can prove they are fighting dogs, that’s a felony,” he added.
Supervisor Ronnie Joe Bennett asked if the county could require dogs be registered.
“None of these dogs had rabies tags attached to the collar,” Dickerson added.
“The ordinance could say owners will have to register pit bulls or go to jail,” Bennett suggested.
The sheriff agreed with Bennett that pit bulls should be registered so the county has a permanent record of the location of these animals.
“You’d be able to get their attention because dog fighting is a big business,” the sheriff said.
The board attorney then passed out copies of revised animal control ordinances for the board to review.
George Khars, who has been assisting the board in looking for animal ordinances on the books in other locations around the country, said he had just one question concerning enforcement with fees and penalties.
“With low-income people, if you pick up a stray, you just bought yourself a stray dog,” he said. “The sheriff doesn’t want all these dogs either.”
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