Pet owners strain at the leash over dog ordinance - WNEM TV 5

Pet owners strain at the leash over dog ordinance

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The Bay County Commission is looking at clamping down on dangerous dogs in the county.  The commission talked about a new animal ordinance at its meeting Tuesday afternoon. 

That proposal could have some dog owners straining at the leash.

"It isn't the pet we're going after, it's the pet owner, we want them to be responsible," said Bay County Commissioner Ernie Krygier.

Krygier has been championing a new dangerous dog ordinance for about two years.  He says the issue had to be addressed because a number of constituents complained to him that there were mutts running around the county posing a danger to residents.  He says he's come up with a solution to hopefully muzzle the problem.

"If you know you have a dog that has a tendency to be on the vicious side and you're going to take it outside, you'd better have a muzzle on it, because if something does happen, another dog gets bit by your dog or a person gets bit, there will be penalties," said Krygier.

Krygier also received input from the county prosecutors office to put teeth into the ordinance, starting with a misdemeanor and even harsher penalties, such as a felony charge for serious or repeat offenders of owners of such animals.  The ordinance doesn't just target pit bulls, we're talking any kind of dog that poses a threat to man or beast, including ankle biters. 

TV5's Craig McMorris asked people in downtown Bay City what they think about the proposal.

"Do they need to do something about dangerous dogs in Bay County?" asked McMorris.  "Somewhat," said Bay County's Cindy Johnson. "But I don't believe all pit bulls should be labeled dangerous, some of them are very family-oriented."

The next step for the proposal to become an ordinance is a public hearing, and that's scheduled to get underway in the next couple of weeks. Post office officials will talk about the issue next Tuesday, and the public can also offer comments about the proposal before the county commission at that time.

"I absolutely believe there are people who live out there with dogs, you can't get near them," said another Bay County resident, Chris Claude. "And if they were to get loose, they would tear up a child, they would tear up an adult, it wouldn't matter."

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