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THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2005
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EDITORIAL

Dangerous Dog Act would get tough on animal owners

A bill in the Legislature is for people like the guy who brothers Tommy Nesmith and Mackey Nesmith said they saw put out a pit bulldog on Morris Mill Road and drive off in his pickup.

Like so many people, state Rep. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, wants to sink the teeth of the local law into these people who don't seem to understand the consequences of owing a dangerous dog, or don't think their animal is a menace.

This particular animal immediately attacked Mackey Nesmith's dogs and ran into the woods. Then the dog attacked Tommy Nesmith and his wife when they attempted to ride off on a motorcycle.

In desperation, Mr. Nesmith choked the dog to death.

Most victims of a dog attack are not as lucky as the Nesmiths, who suffered scratches and bruises.

Rep. Ward's bill, which is due up for a House vote within two weeks, gives municipalities a mechanism for declaring dogs dangerous and then removing them from society.

Owners would get due process in court to defend a complaint against their dogs that have attacked a human or other animal. Failing to be successful in convincing a judge, local animal control officers would humanely destroy the dogs or the judge would order them locked up in a secure, but humane, place if they are not a sufficient public threat.

Keeping a dog declared dangerous wouldn't be worth the monetary expense to most people. The surety bond of up to $100,000 required to cover any damage the dogs did if they got loose wouldn't be cheap. The fines for allowing a dangerous dog to run free would be expensive, running up to $10,000.

The bill doesn't force any local government to take dangerous dogs to court, but gives them that authority and authority to license them.

Most people are responsible pet owners. Some, however, are idiots. This bill is for the idiots who get a sadistic pleasure from being owners of the bad dogs down the block.

This bill would control them, too.

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