The St. Clair Times

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November 26, 2014

Letter: Leash laws help keep people, animals safe

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Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014 12:00 am | Updated: 2:53 pm, Wed Jun 11, 2014.

I have owned dogs for more than 20 years, and they are kept in our home and let out into our fenced-in yard when they need to. I am very much in favor of leash laws for each and every county in the United States. Not only do these laws keep humans and farm animals safe from attack, it keeps our neighborhoods quiet from barking, roaming, and possibly dangerous dogs. 

In the April 17 issue of the St. Clair Times, Councilman Frank Riddle was quoted as saying that "a child is more likely to be killed by a coyote than a dog that’s loose." This statement is patently untrue. I did the research and learned that "the last human to be killed by a coyote in the U.S. was a child in California in 1980, compared to 300 killed by domestic dogs from the late 1970s to the later 1990s [when comparative statistics are last available]."

He also seems to suggest that "because his children have kept pit bulls for 20 years and never had any problems," that any leash law is a "sort of knee-jerk reaction." This is just a plain, ignorant statement that is completely irrelevant, such as comparing dog-attack statistics to drunk driver-caused fatalities. There are already laws against drunk driving.

The leash law would pertain to all dogs — not just pits — even though pits have been responsible for nearly 80 percent of dog attack fatalities and yet they account for only about 6 percent of the dogs in the U.S. I like tigers, but I wouldn’t keep one in my house or let it roam the neighborhood.

Does anyone remember the elderly Leeds man who was attacked and killed by roaming dogs just a few months ago? He was walking down his own driveway to get his mail when the neighbor’s roaming dogs attacked him. I am afraid to walk in my own rural neighborhood because of roaming dogs.

Loose dogs can be annoying, in danger of being hit by cars, picked up by animal control or well-meaning strangers who take them to a shelter, etc. Dogs are like young children and cannot be left to their own devices. Dog owners whose dogs go out of control and attack should be held accountable for their pets’ actions.

Councilman Riddle needs to do his homework before he opens his mouth for publication.

 

Barbara Westlake-Kenny, Odenville

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