DECATUR Lisa Brown, Leianne Harr and Sharon Brown appeared at Monday’s city council meeting to appeal for tougher restrictions on vicious dogs.
Two pit bulls attacked Lisa Brown’s dog on Oct. 6 while in was in the bed of her pickup truck and parked in her yard. Two children were present at the time of the attack, and it occurred within sight of the Northside Elementary School.
Lisa Brown managed to kill one of the dogs with her bare hands and the other dog ran home.
The owner of the two Pit Bulls, Neng Vang, was issued two citations for dogs running at large, two citations for no rabies vaccinations and two citations for owning vicious dogs. For each citation Vang could be fined from $100 to $500, and the judge could decide to have the remaining dog euthanized, police chief Terry Luker said.
The three women told city council members theywould like owners of dangerous dogs be required to keep them confined in secure kennels.
“I never knew what it was like to feel helpless until that day. We’re here asking you for help,” Harr told the council.
“He freely admitted to us that he let them out at a time when kids are getting off the school bus.
The school’s right there.
He knows they’re vicious and he let them out,” Lisa Brown said.
“We don’t want to wait to do something until a child is involved,” she said, pointing out that the fence around the school playground isn’t completely enclosed and that if the dogs can clear the back of her truck, they can easily jump the school’s chain link fence and attack a child.
Sharon Brown brought examples of legislation from other states that require dog owners to keep vicious animals in a kennel with a roof and a wire floor built to certain specifications.
The Decatur city council passed a 25-page animal-control ordinance in May with strict regulations on vicious dogs. The problem is that, while the attack happened inside city limits, Vang lives outside city limits, and the city of Decatur does not have the authority to require Vang to confine his dogs in compliance with the ordinance.
The ordinance defines vicious dogs as those who have a tendency to attack unprovoked or threaten the safety of humans and domestic animals, those that have the capability of inflicting serious harm to humans, or any dog that has bitten a human or domestic animal without being provoked.
The ordinance requires the dog to be continually confined inside a kennel.
If the dog is taken out of its confinement, it is required to wear a muzzle and be on a leash. Owners are required to post warning signs on their property and carry at least $100,000 of liability insurance on their dog.
City Attorney Tom Smith told the women that vicious dogs are a big problem in the three cities he serves, as well as Benton County.
“There are just so manyof them, they are everywhere,” he said.
He advised Sharon Brown and Lisa Brown to contact the Benton County Sheriffs Office and see if the county had a vicious dog law that could be enforced.
Sharon Brown said she has already contacted the Sheriffs Office and wastold there was nothing that could be done because a human wasn’t hurt in the attack, and because the attack happened inside the city limits.
Smith suggested the women talk to local justice of the peace Bobby Hubbard and appear before the Benton CountyQuorum Court to see what could be done at a county level about the problem.
He also suggested the women talk State Senator Kim Hendren R-Gravette about the problem to see if state laws could be adopted, which would cover both the city and the county.
News, Pages 2 on 10/14/2009
Print Headline: Vicious dogs topic of council