Easier said than done

Published:

It is not surprising that both Fiscal Court and the City Commission are having their attorneys review existing local ordinances relating to vicious dogs in view of recent deaths and severe injuries from dog attacks, particularly in Louisville.

In fact, Louisville commissioners are considering a ban on particular breeds of dogs, including pit bulls, in the city as a result of fatal attacks there in recent months.

City and county government here then would be remiss if they did not take a serious look at the issue.

And it also is not surprising that local attitudes about stronger dog-control regulations are all over the spectrum.

The truth is that some breeds of large dogs are innately more aggressive than others, and the difference between a safe animal and a dangerous one is a reflection of the training and care that animal receives from its owner.

The easy course of action is simply to ban certain breeds because they have been known to become vicious in the past and attack people without provocation. However, that easy course ignores the fact that any dog can pose a threat, especially to small children, given the right circumstances.

And a ban on certain breeds also requires a beefed up animal control program to respond to and deal with those who violate the ban. Even requiring owners of particularly aggressive breeds of dogs to pay higher licensing fees or to post a bond will mean the need for more personnel to make certain the licensing or bond requirement is being met.

Are magistrates and commissioners prepared to pay the cost of a substantially higher level of animal control enforcement than they have in the past?

It is, of course, a small number of dog owners that account for the largest share of the problem with aggressive or dangerous dogs. If that small number of owners realize that they will be held responsible for their animals and held to a very high degree of responsibility Fiscal Court and the City Commission very well could solve the problem without picking which breeds of dogs are suitable here and which are not.

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