Hillsborough County Commissioners contemplate penalizing owners of dogs not fixed04/04/07 Mitch E. Perry
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Hillsborough County Commissioners today heard from their Animal Services division about what might be done regarding owners of vicious dogs who refuse to have them fixed.
The Department has been working on a variety of proposals, including imposing an annual fee such dog owners, or imposing a litter fee.
Such proposals from an advisory panel came after Commission Kevin White asked the Department to explore ways to address dangerous dogs.
Bill Armstrong is Director of Hillsborough County Animal Services. He threw out some alarming statistics to begin the discussion (roll tape#1 o.q.”the age of 18”)
Armstrong also said that about 77% of dog bites happen in a family’s home. And that in 2005 and 2006, 59 people across the U.S. were killed by such bites.
Since Commissioner White’s request, Animal Services created a Task Force to look at ways that could address dangerous dogs. County Commissioners says in the month since that’s happened, they’ve been bombarded by constituents, many concerned about what type of sanctions might be imposed on dog owners.
Commissioner Mark Sharpe questioned who was part of the advisory panel. He said it was incumbent that dog breeders and others who might have a different approach to the issue of vicious dogs have their say as well(roll tape#2 o.q.”express themselves”)
Picking up on Director Armstrong’s quoted statistic that 73% of dog bites came from dogs who had not been fixed yet, Commissioner Brian Blair questioned Armstrong if he knew how many dogs throughout the entire County are intact. When Armstrong admitted he did not because there were so many pets not registered, Blair then said the whole theory was suspect (roll tape#3 o.q.”so to speak”)
Blair said he wasn’t buying that. He said the owners of such dangerous dogs should be
The ones held accountable (roll tape#4 o.q.”be prepared to do that”)
Commissioner Kevin White, who initiated the Animal Services study and subsequent task force, said he agree with Commissioner Blair that dog owners need to be held accountable. But he disagreed that this was a matter too much government intervention
(roll tape#5 o.q.” to do that”)The Commission voted to read and respond to the report. They also asked Animal Services to produce a status report on recommendations in 2 months time.