WARNER ROBINS -- More stringent regulations for dangerous dogs are being hashed out among Houston County officials, according to an animal control official.
David Cosey, a member of the Houston County Animal Control Board, said Houston County, Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville officials have agreed to modifications of their respective dangerous dog ordinances.
The changes, which are aimed at closing perceived loopholes in the state’s new regulations, include counting other pets as possible attack victims and requiring dangerous dogs to be microchipped.
“Rather than waiting on the state to react, we offered these regulations be made on a local level,” Cosey said.
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Last session, state legislators amended the law about dangerous dogs. The new law allows a dog to be determined dangerous even if an injury does not require sutures and eliminated inequities in the regulations of the categories of dangerous dogs.
“There will probably be some things addressed (related to dangerous dog laws) in this next session, kind of clearing up some items,” Cosey said.
The Houston County governments each passed an ordinance with the new state regulations this year but have agreed to vote on the animal control proposals.
Perry City Council was the first Tuesday to review its modified ordinance. Councilmen will vote on the measure at their Sept. 18 meeting. According to Warner Robins City Attorney Jim Elliott, Warner Robins City Council will review its ordinance soon.
Officials from Centerville and Houston County were not reached Wednesday, but Cosey said all governments have agreed to vote on the proposed modifications as soon as logistically possible.
The modifications will require a dog owner whose pet has been deemed dangerous to not only register it locally as state law dictates, but also provide evidence the dog has been implanted with an electronic chip and has been spayed or neutered.
Cosey said the microchip will allow animal control officers to identify runaway dogs that have a history of violence.
He also said spaying and neutering dogs with a violent attack in their pasts reduces the urge to act irrationally.
Another modification adds to a state exception to the confinement of dangerous dogs that allows such pets off of the owner’s property if involved in work or training for hunting, herding or predator control.
Under the Houston County modifications, dangerous dogs would be prohibited from any public property, even if covered under the state’s exception.
Owners would need written permission from the property owner to let the dog off a leash on private property.
“If you don’t have any kind of limitations on (the state’s exceptions), then you create a loophole and a dangerous situation,” Cosey said.
The modified ordinance expands the perimeters of determining a dangerous dog. If passed, dogs that attack other pets could be held to the same standards as those that attack humans.
Cosey said animal control sometimes incurs costs when dogs attack other animals.
Cosey added the animal control board’s goal is to protect residents and help them feel safe
“Once a dog attacks a person, the people in the neighborhood never feel quite as safe,” he said.
To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.