Aldermen want to raise fines for loose dogs
By BRUCE RUSHTON
Posted Aug 04, 2008 @ 11:37 PM
The price of letting dogs run loose in Springfield is about to go up, two aldermen say.
An ordinance introduced at Monday’s meeting of the Springfield City Council public affairs and safety committee would increase fines from $100 to $200 for a first violation of the city’s animal-control code. A second violation would bring a $400 fine, and any further offenses would cost $800.
Ward 1 Ald. Frank Edwards and Ward 6 Ald. Mark Mahoney said they want to hit irresponsible dog owners in the pocketbook and prevent dog bites. However, paperwork presented to the committee by the city’s legal department isn’t clear on exactly what would be covered by the steeper fines.
For one thing, the proposed change would amend Article VII of the animal control ordinance. However, there is no Article VII in the ordinance, which stops at Article VI.
Furthermore, the penalty in the existing ordinance, which provides for fines of between $100 and $500, covers all sorts of violations, including failure to pick up after Fido when he does his business. The proposed ordinance change provided to council members does not differentiate between fining owners who allow their dogs to run loose and owners who are cruel to their dogs or fail to clean up after them.
Mahoney said the intent of the increased fines is to punish owners who let dangerous dogs run loose. It’s patterned after a county law approved last month that provides for fines of $200 to $800 for owners of nuisance dogs, he said.
Edwards said the ordinance wouldn’t differentiate between a pit bull and a pug, but enforcement would depend on complaints, and people are more likely to complain about a menacing dog than one that just runs around in circles. He agreed with Mahoney that the proposal, which could get a final vote by month’s end, isn’t controversial.
“It’ll pass,” Edwards predicted.
http://www.sj-r.com/homepage/x154210658 ... loose-dogs
Bless the Bullys