DIANE BENFORD: Dog laws should apply to all breeds

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Owners who are negligent are the real issue

Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

This issue begins as dog owners of all breeds get a puppy that is easy to care for, but then it grows up and requires much more attention. Owners lose interest and control, so they put them out in the yard — often chained up, even in a fenced yard.

The dog is neglected and not socialized. It is no longer a pet, which, by definition, is a tame animal treated lovingly kept as a companion. There are a large number of people who own dogs just as a status symbol. Unfortunately, many of these are pit bulls.

The best solution would be to require mandatory spaying and neutering of dogs unless the owner is a breeder and pays a significant fee for a license. Dogs should be registered when they receive a rabies tag and pay a heavy penalty for not having a tag.

The public must be educated about animal ordinances through public forums, brochure distribution, advertising on radio and TV and billboards, and school programs. A tip line can be established so people can report problems without fear. Offer rewards for tips leading to criminal activity such as dog-fighting.

Animal control does a good job for the huge task that they have, but they need more help for a city our size. Just one task, such as looking for a stray dog, is like looking for a needle in a haystack. So few agents and resources, and think of all the dogs chained, without tags, without food and water and shelter. That is just dogs — think of all the other animals.

This is a social issue about irresponsible pet owners but all pet owners regardless of the breed should have to follow the same laws.