Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Kathi has let me know that the owner of the dog who attacked her dog, Chantal, has gone back on his word and is not paying the veterinary bill for Chantal, as he had promised.

This leaves Kathi with the only option of going back to Small Claims Court in order to recover veterinary expenses. Small Claims does not grant court and filing costs to the plaintiff. So Kathi will be out double costs for subpoena service and probably other filing costs.

Kathi's dilemma underlines the need for MAJOR reassessment of leash law enforcement and penalties for violation. Dog attacks are traumatic and the results are expensive. Remedies for victims are difficult to come by and require considerable financial outlay to even begin the process of remedy.

It is still not clear if the owner of the attacking dog has been charged with a misdemeanor. It is my understanding that most leash law violations are misdemeanors. I do wonder if sometimes authorities are reluctant to file misdemeanor charges when "just dogs" are involved. And, I know from the case of the attack on Portia, Bingley and my husband, no misdemeanor charges were filed, even though my husband was attacked and Portia was killed--and the attacking dog was "on probation."

Over the years, having had five leashed dogs attacked by off leash dogs, I have given serious thought to the present status of leash laws and their enforcement. Both the laws and the consequences for breaking those laws need a fresh look, a reformulation using a different model.

It seems to me that a system based on tickets with graduated fines for second and third offenses is a place to start.

I welcome readers ideas about creating more effective laws and consequences.

Victims of off leash dog attacks deserve better protection and intervention.

1 comment:

  1. Your suggestion of incremental fines is a good one. However, laws are only as good as the enforcement and when it comes to ‘leash’ laws, enforcement is woefully lacking. There is also a mindset from some of the pet owning public that they do not have to walk their dog on a lead. They have a ‘good’ dog. I can’t tell you how many pet owners I’ve turned away from entering our grooming salon/pet wash because they did not have their dog on a lead. Some accepted the kennel lead I handed to them and a few walked off in a ranting huff. Perhaps a hefty fine, that was actually enforced, would help to wake up the irresponsible pet owner.

    An old breeder told me a long time ago, “Never tell anyone that your dog won’t bite. Any dog under the right circumstances will bite.” A dog is a dog is a dog…not a little person in a fur coat.