Mason County News
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Gone to the Dogs
Wednesday, March 4, 2009 • Posted March 4, 2009

Dear Gerry,

This is an edited and abridged version of a letter I have sent to our City’s Commission, Administrator, and Attorney. I sent the letter after reading of the recent, physical injuries suffered by Eva Tannehill during an attack by a loose dog.

Many times in the past we have called to report nuisance dogs. This has involved dogs that are incessantly barking, poorly secured, loose, aggressive, and those that seemed in distress due to possible owner negligence. These incidents have occurred in our own yard, on Westmoreland, Pecan, Pontotoc, and Koocksville roads, and on Hwy. 87 to name a few. Many times we have caught loose dogs and returned them to their owner’s yard as a neighborly gesture, but henceforth we will secure the dog and call the City for removal. The owner will just have to pay, hopefully learning in the process and modifying their future pet management approach. The first question I hope these folks will ask is, “Do I really need and have time for a dog?”

Many times we have been accosted by loose, aggressive dogs. Our last attack from a loose dog occurred on December, 05, 2008 while walking along Starling Street. We were accosted by a snarling, vicious acting dog that had come at us by going under the owner’s fence. I finally fended this animal off with a well placed rock. I immediately called the City, but was told that Animal Control was not available due to either being in or at school (?). This reminded me of one of one of the previously encountered problems with the City’s animal control strategy in that there is no one to respond to loose/vicious dog calls after hours, on weekends, or when the usual animal control officer is in other ways pre-occupied. The Sherriff’s office declines to help. This is neither an acceptable nor prudent policy.

Recently, on February 19th we had a white Pit bull in our yard, again! This animal lives on Westmoreland, just one-half block from the City’s offices, and is constantly loose. As a matter of fact I also saw it loose on the evenings and nights of February, 20th, 21st, and 22nd. Fortunately it was me rather than my wife who encountered the dog as my wife is on supplemental oxygen, in a weakened state, and unsteady on her feet. This could have put her under severe stress and caused her physical harm, possibly lethal. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to report these incidents as I needed to care for my wife AND there is no one to report it to after 5:00 p.m. In addition, I thought I would try my luck with a public forum to see if this could motivate some action. This animal has been reported in the past. Consider it reported now.

This situation is severely out of hand! From a safety and risk-management standpoint, and before a negligence lawsuit costs the tax and rate payers a lot of money, the City must immediately begin stringent enforcement of its existing pet ordinance including licensing, rabies vaccinations, and stray and loose dogs. By continuing the current approach the management of the City is putting citizen’s safety at risk as well as placing the City of Mason in a position of significant fiscal liability.

Respectfully submitted,

Tony Plutino

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