Dog owners need to be aware of county ordinances - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Dog owners need to be aware of county ordinances

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

August 4, 2008

TIFTON, GA (WALB) - In recent weeks, three children have been injured in serious dog attacks across South Georgia. Many communities have ordinances on the books that hold pet owners accountable. Dogs can be a man's best friend, but in the blink of an eye, even the friendliest dog can attack. "You just have to be extra extra careful, says Regina Wells, Tift County Animal Control Director. She knows first hand the importance of having control of your pets, especially large dogs. Here in Tift County, there are three main ordinances in place to enforce that control. The first one is the Leash Law.

"You have to maintain control of them. They have to be on a ten foot chain, swivels on both ends, again you have to maintain control," she says. Then there's the Nuisance Law.  "You know a barking dog, running over there using the bathroom in your yard, or running over there biting somebody in the face, I mean that's a nuisance," says Wells. Finally, animal control stresses Running at Large, which is when your pet is again out of your control, possibly roaming around your neighbors yard. People who offend any of these ordinances can be fined. And it can get expensive. Citation fines can run 125 dollars and up.

Of course some are dogs typically more dangerous than others. In a recent study, Pit Bulls were ranked number one for most dangerous dogs, Rottweilers second, and German Shepards ranked third. But Wells stresses the fact that if you treat your dog with love, they'll treat you with love right back. It's important for parents to stress to kids the importance of treating dogs properly.

"I teach her not to pull their tail, not to mess with their food, and don't get too close," says Wells. But at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if a dog is taunted. Your dog is your responsibility, and you pay the fine if they attack.

State law also requires all dog owners to get their pets vaccinated for rabies.

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