Our View: Animal ordinance changes needed
It seems a bit late for residents to be protesting a 27-year-old law. One would think that if there were problems, they would have surfaced before now. They haven’t.
Last week, several Craig residents attended the Craig City Council meeting with questions, comments and concerns about the proposed changes to the portion of the Craig Municipal Code that deals with animals.
The changes have been years in the making. Former animal control officer Amy Andrews initiated the process more than two years ago as she dealt with a growing population of unclaimed cats. The laws she was paid to enforce seemed to have no teeth. Current animal control officer Kathie Johnson agrees there’s a need for an amended ordinance.
The new law will have teeth — increased fines accompany citations for a violation.
The remaining changes are minimal — animals adopted from the city’s designated shelter must be spayed or neutered, animals must be vaccinated, and no person can have more than six dogs and cats as pets.
The biggest challenge to the laws seem to be the portion that requires dogs to be on leashes — a law that has been in effect since 1978.
We think that requiring dogs to be on leashes is completely reasonable. Yes, there are people who have extremely well-trained pets, but law enforcement officials will testify that those are not the majority. When the issue is public safety, you cannot take a chance that people are telling the truth when they say their pets are under control. The only way to guarantee that an animal in a public place will not harm another animal or person is to have it on a leash. That is the only way.
That does not punish responsible pet owners. It takes into account that animals — like people — aren’t perfect. Even the best-trained dog can respond in unexpected ways to certain stimuli.
We commend those who have been a part of this discussion from the beginning — those who are offering solutions instead of arguments. Those people have learned that their opinions do matter, and the proposed ordinance already has been changed to reflect their concerns.
The bottom line is that laws are created for the people who aren’t doing what’s in the best interest of public safety. If people didn’t use guns to kill people, there would be no need for licensing laws.
Animals in Craig are breeding out of control, dogs are defecating where children play, and barking dog complaints are rampant.
What this ordinance is doing is addressing those issues.
Responsible pet owners who want space for their dogs to run and play should band together and work with the city to establish a dog park. That would cater to all needs in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the public safety.
The police department will meet with residents who have expressed an interest in the ordinance. We hope all those involved will be respectful of one other, open to a diversity of opinions and overall, keep the needs of the community at the forefront of their thoughts.
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