Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hold dog owners, not dogs, responsible

By Joni Rommesmo,
Published Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Fargo

Are there dangerous dogs in Fargo? Absolutely. My husband’s friend was severely bitten by a black lab. My cousin’s child was bitten by a Weimaraner. And just recently there was the bite by a Great Pyrenees. Perhaps we should add these to the list of breeds singled out for special attention when drafting dangerous dog laws. Or maybe we should have all dogs over 25 pounds subject to additional requirements, as the bigger the dog the bigger the bite.

Fargo needs tough laws for all breeds. If your dog is roaming loose the fine should hurt. Dogs on leashes are not attacking. Enforce the leash law. Increase fines for repeat offenders. Make it hurt.

In May 2008 I invited our city commissioners, our mayor and The Forum to attend the Fargo-Moorhead Kennel Club All Breed Dog Show. I wanted them to see these so called aggressive dogs participating with over 1,000 others. I wanted them to see their dedicated and responsible owners interacting with their dogs and the public. The Forum was the only one to respond, sending reporter Lee Morris.

My hope is that our city commission educates itself before enacting new legislation. The consequences for any dog owner not complying with Fargo’s ordinances should be significant. Put some teeth into our current laws but please don’t try to solve the problem with legislation aimed at specific breeds. All owners, all dogs must be held responsible.

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