Dog attacks support leash laws

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 18, 2007

To the Editor:

I noticed the poll about the county leash law. I just thought I would contribute some information that I have read. There are five million dog bites a year in the U.S. That’s 2 percent of the population. Eight thousand bites require medical attention. Twenty-six people die a year from dog attacks. Many are children.

There are almost 75 million dogs in the U.S. 77 percent of dog biting dogs belong to the victims family or friends. Some

2,851 letter carriers are bitten.

I have only been bitten four times. Part of that is because I enjoy cycling in Southampton County. I think it’s great if you have a barking, aggressive dog that guards your property. But most people cannot control a dog with aggressive/chasing personality. The dog ends up on public property (the road) and attacks. That road is mine just like state parks and the like.

If the leash law does not pass, there is something you can if you know of an aggressive dog. Let the owner that the dog is a threat. They might try to contain the animal at that point. Even let the local law enforcement know of an incident. This might help (in court) if their dog bites, mauls or kills you or one of your children. Sounds crazy but looks at the statistics (mine and national) again.

Probably the most common response from the owner of a dog who has bitten is “but my dog has never bitten anyone before.” Why wait for that “first” time to act responsibly? Laws are written when the general public is not acting responsibly. With five million attacks a year, I would say it is time.

John Fitzgerald