Dog ordinance is enough

Published:

The City Commission wisely decided this week not to wade into the thorny issue of deciding which breeds of dogs constitute such a threat to people that they should be banned outright or their ownership strongly discouraged.

Instead the Commission sensibly opted to stick with the citys current ordinance defining vicious dogs of whatever breed.

That ordinance, however, applies only after a dog attacks and possibly injures an innocent bystander. But a breed-specific ban, which other Kentucky cities are considering, including Louisville, is difficult and expensive to enforce, and only drives the owners of banned breeds underground.

The key provision of the present vicious dog ordinance reads that, It has a tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or otherwise to endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals.

In the event of an attack by a dog that meets that broad criterion, the city may confiscate it and put it down. The animals owner is subject to a fine of at least $250.

Supporters of a breed-specific ban argue that such dangerous animals should be removed from the community before someone is injured or possibly killed. But any breed of large dog has the potential for becoming dangerous to people and other domestic pets, breeds that represent many of the dogs being walked along Frankforts streets on any day of the week.

So the citys current vicious dog ordinance combined with a requirement that dogs be held on a leash outside their owners fenced property is the most reasonable answer to concerns about the potential for harm from dangerous dogs.

Frankforts dog owners and cat owners have more reason to be concerned about reports of coyotes roaming the city streets than being attacked by a pit bull or German shepherd. Indeed, as far as animals in the city limits are concerned, that may well become a concern of police and the City Commission soon enough.

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