Chaining dogs is asking for trouble
Monday, August 4, 2008 1:56 PM CDT
The Leflore County Board of Supervisors took positive steps last week to rein in the menace of pit bulls in this community.
We can debate forever whether the breed is the problem or the way they are often raised, but the supervisors had to do something to reassure a public that has seen too many frightening attacks by these dogs.
The regulations, drafted in consultation with the Leflore County Humane Society, are certainly going to dissuade all but the most devoted pit bull owners. It requires the owners to house the dogs in secure, four-sided pens; spay or neuter them; post warning signs; register with the Humane Society; and carry a $100,000 insurance policy or post a cash surety in that amount.
Greenwood, for its part, has a ban on vicious animals, although its ordinance does not deal with pit bulls specifically. City officials, following the lead of the county, may want to re-examine that ordinance and consider adding to it some of the financial disincentives that the county has adopted for keeping a pit bull.
These requirements, if they are enforced, should cut down on the pit bull population. It will be too much hassle to own the breed.
It will not, though, eliminate the dangers caused by dogs trained to be vicious. There are plenty of breeds other than pit bulls that can be turned into hellish hounds if an owner is so inclined. For this reason, some sensible regulations about how dogs — regardless of breed — are confined may be in order.
One precaution would be to ban the chaining of dogs. A recent letter writer to the Clarion-Ledger newspaper made an interesting analogy. Chaining a dog in the yard, wrote Sandra Salloum of Flowood, “is like putting a loaded gun on display.” Chained dogs are going to be aggressive, not to mention incredibly strong in their neck muscles from pulling against the restraint all day. They are likely to be taunted by youngsters, who may get a perverse sense of joy from riling the animals up. If the dogs do break loose, watch out.
The June 20 attack in Itta Bena that prompted the county to adopt its pit bull regulations demonstrated what chaining can do to a dog over time. The pit bull that savagely tore up the leg of a passerby had been kept on a heavy metal chain for years in an unfenced yard. Even those who fed it were frightened to get too close, stopping short at meal time of the dirt warning track that marked the end of the dog’s reach. This animal was no pet. It was an animal used for protection and primed to kill.
If property owners are going to use dogs for security, rather than just companionship, they have an obligation to make sure that their neighbors and innocent bystanders are not endangered. They should fence in a section of the yard where the dog is kept.
Chaining is cheaper, but it’s asking for trouble. And even if the dog is calm, chaining it up for long stretches of time is a cruel way to restrain the animal.
The Gulfport City Council, in the aftermath of a pit bull’s mauling of a 3-year-old girl last month, has been urged to ban chaining of dogs in that coastal city. Greenwood and Leflore County should consider doing the same.
http://gwcommonwealth.com/articles/2008 ... edit01.txt
Bless the Bullys