Thursday, February 18, 2010

Consequences, But No Solution

A Reliable Source has informed me that the two dogs involved in the attack in Emerald Heights have been euthanized at the request of their owner.

While this action eases the pervasive fear in the Emerald Heights neighborhood, it does little to address the rampant problem of loose dogs roaming the streets and running around parks in North San Diego County.

Underlining this fact, yesterday, a bicyclist was attacked and bitten by a loose dog in Encinitas.

We now have two more active North County residents who are just beginning to deal with the physical damages caused by dog bites. My husband, who was bitten the evening of June 30, 2009, is still experiencing pain and restricted movement as the result of a "simple" puncture bite to his hand. I wish these two most recent victims a swift and complete recovery.

But the impact of a dog attack lasts a long, long time.

When dogs are euthanized because they are menaces to their community, no one really wins. The system has failed. It has failed to protect innocent citizens. It has failed to educate dog owners about the privileges and responsibilities of dog ownership. And it has failed to truly protect the creatures that it is supposed to protect: the dogs themselves.

We need to take a good, long, sensible look at the laws and the enforcement of laws related to dogs and people. The law now used by the Escondido Humane Society to deal with situations like the Emerald Heights attack is an old California State Agriculture Law! Its enforcement offers NOTHING in the way of a deterrent.

We need a system of graduated fines charged to people whose dogs are loose--for whatever reason. We need to provide mandatory classes in dog ownership for offenders--paid for by the offenders. California got serious about reducing deaths caused by drunken drivers. When we get serious about reducing the threat of dog attacks on our streets, we can do something about that, too. And save lives--human as well as canine--in the process.

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