Editorial: Dog ordinance needs more teethPublished 8:35pm Wednesday, August 17, 2011
After one cat was killed and a dog was maimed by a neighborhood pitbull, Niles Township officials decided to address the issue of a dangerous animal ordinance, or lack thereof.
Currently, if an animal attacks without provocation in the township, Berrien County Animal Control is contacted. With the proposed dangerous animal ordinance, an animal could be removed from the township if deemed dangerous. If labeled as dangerous, the animal could be euthanized.
Having such an ordinance in place is a wise idea; however, this proposed one leaves some unanswered questions.
The proposed ordinance, drafted by former township attorney Chris Lynch, does not clearly define the word ‘bite,” which could pose problems determining which animals are considered a threat and which are not.
For example, if a common breed such as a Labrador or golden retriever attacks a person, will all Labradors and golden retrievers in the township be scrutinized? The wrong dog could be removed from a home, which could result in problems for the township.
Another loophole in the proposed ordinance is determining where the animals will go. If not euthanized, but removed from a residence, who will care for the animal? A local animal shelter? Who will pay for its care?
The proposed dangerous animal ordinance is a good start, and if some of these gaps are filled, could help prevent repeated animal attacks in Niles Township.
This editorial reflects the views of the Niles Daily Star editorial board.