Tougher Dog Laws in Madison County?

By: Sarah Batista
By: Sarah Batista

April 25, 2005

The recent string of local dog attacks has two Madison County employees reviewing their own dog ordinance. They say roaming dogs in the County are a common sight in area neighborhoods and streets.

"We tend to have the same problems with the same dogs," said Carol Heller, manager of the Madison County Animal Shelter.

That's why Heller took the problem to the County board of supervisors. She's hoping an expanded dog ordinance will force dog owners to keep their pets in their own yards. But some residents say that's not always easy.

"It's hard to keep them on the property because mine gets out sometimes and runs across the road," said Madison County resident Elsie Carpenter.

The way the current ordinance is worded, dogs licensed in Madison County can only be removed if they're endangering someone, not if they're being noisy or destroying someone’s property. County animal control officer, Becky Cromwell, is in favor of the new ordinance and would like to see that changed.

"I'd like to see stronger laws, more fines, so that it will hold up in court, so if they see MCAC coming they know we're there for a reason, and we mean business," said Cromwell.

So far, county supervisors have been open to both Cromwell and Heller's concerns. The two are currently researching ways to improve the ordinance.

"Unfortunately, that's not going to eliminate the problem," said Heller. "But it will give us steps to deal with the problem a little bit better."

The women hope to submit their proposal for the new ordinance within the next week.

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