Jackson Vicious Dog Ordinance on the Table

By: Rachel Thomas Email
By: Rachel Thomas Email
Some pet owners might have to purchase extra insurance. Jackson county commissioners are considering after several vicious dog attacks in that community.

Fido, a German shepherd service dog at the Marine Corps Police Department K-9 unit, can appear as a friendly house pet but is trained to be used as a fierce police enforcement tool.

Jackson County has seen a notable uptake in dog attacks this year. Now county leaders are taking preventitive action with a new ordinance.

"We've had four or five attacks that were heinous really nasty attacks by dogs," said Capt. Steven Rand of the Jackson County Sheriff's Dept.

One of the most gruesome is still awaiting trial. A 6-year-old girl walked into a fenced area last August, where she was mauled by three pitbulls.

"She had bites and pieces missing from her scalp and facial injuries. I lifetime of scars that are going to follow this child," said Rand.

The new measure allows a judge to require owners to purchase $100,000 minimum liability insurance. One owner fears the new rule will allow neighbors to target certain dogs instead of irresponsible owners.

"I definately think pitbulls are being targetted. It's a dog people don't respect or don't treat it properly," said Jackson pitbull owner Betsy Klein.

The Jackson County Animal Shelter has had a long standing policy of not adopting out any of its pitbull breeds because of their unpredictable violent behavior. The new ordinance does not make a distinction between breeds.

"It has to do with all dogs not with a particular breed. If you go back and look at the bites and attacks they're not limited to one particular breed," said James Shotwell Jr., the chairman of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners.

The ordinance outlines 9 behavioral levels including chronically running loose and threatening people or animals. A judge will use these levels to determine if a dog is potentially dangerous.

The Board of Commissioners will give 30 days for public input and have a final vote in February.


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