Craig Editorial Board, July 2009 to September 2009
- Bryce Jacobson, newspaper representative
- Joshua Roberts, newspaper representative
- Collin Smith, newspaper representative
- Kim McMurtrey, community representative
- Doris Zimmerman, community representative
- Nancy Hettinger, community representative
When people start carrying pepper spray and avoiding certain streets because of loose dogs, there's a problem.
That's not a hypothetical. That's the reality.
Some residents, including some members of this board, are nervous about walking with their children through the streets of Craig.
They see loose pets everywhere. Many dogs are friendly and only want to walk a little ways with someone.
But it only takes one to attack.
In local resident Dave Grabowski's case, it was actually two dogs, and their bites sent him to the emergency room.
The attack was severe and unprovoked, and the city eventually decided the dogs had to be put down.
The board thinks that was the right decision, as painful as it was for the dogs' owners.
However, we cannot applaud the city for how it handled other matters in the Grabowski attack.
The dogs in question, after having sent one person to the hospital, were allowed to remain at home for another day, until officials reversed their original decision and decided they had to be impounded.
We think that should be a rule of thumb.
When an unprovoked animal attacks someone, it should be impounded immediately.
Which brings us to an unfortunate conclusion: The city has to be more proactive in making sure animal attacks do not happen.
Craig is supposed to have a leash law, but you wouldn't know it walking through any neighborhood in town, or even City Park.
The Craig Police Department needs to start writing tickets for loose dogs.
Of course, the only way for police to take this issue more seriously is if they know the extent of the problem.
Captain Jerry DeLong, of the Police Department, said there have been 12 reported dog attacks in the last year.
That's a relatively low number. To all the people who are upset about loose dogs, you have to take the initiative to report problems when you see them.
City operations are at least partly predicated on statistics, and 12 calls a year doesn't look like a big problem. If people want the city to step up, they have to voice their concerns.
In the end, though, we don't feel law enforcement needs to shoulder all the burden.
As much as the city needs to do more, local dog owners have to stop being irresponsible.
It's ridiculous to think you can let your dog - or dogs in some cases - roam the streets. It doesn't matter how much you liked the movie "Homeward Bound," or what fun adventures you think your pet will have outside the backyard, they cannot be let loose in the city.
Also, part of responsible pet ownership is getting cats and dogs spayed and neutered. Dogs will be dogs, so to speak, and if we're going to cut down on the number of them around town, it makes sense to start at the source.
There are other simple steps, too, such as not buying a new puppy on a whim.
Too often, we hear of people who buy a puppy, get tired of it and then turn it loose.
Invariably, these puppies go on to have puppies of their own, which makes the situation worse.
We should recognize there are as many good pet owners as bad ones, and sometimes, good pets do bad things.
This won't be an easy issue to tackle, much as deciding whether to impound or euthanize someone's pet is a hard decision to make.
But it is unacceptable to have residents who are scared to walk the streets, whether they are afraid of muggers, drunken drivers or being mauled by someone's dog.