Every city, county and state should have dog laws that provide sufficient protection to the community. While education is essential for civilized communities, education itself never stops the unthinking, the indifferent or the malicious person from harming his neighbors. Two laws are required:
- A “dangerous dog law.” This is a statute or ordinance that identifies unacceptable behavior on the part of a dog and its owners (meaning owners, harborers, keepers and custodians), establishes remedies of various sorts, and authorizes third parties to take action to control the dog and its owner. Attorney Kenneth Phillips has published his Model Dangerous Dog Law at www.dogbitelaw.com.
- An “irresponsible dog owner law.” In addition to identifying and confining dangerous dogs, we must keep ourselves safe from the real source of dog attacks: chronically irresponsible dog owners. Attorney Phillips has also drafted the Model Irresponsible Dog Owner Law. It identifies and penalizes dog owners whose actions make our communities unsafe.
These laws may exist on the city, county and state level. They may contemplate court actions or local “dog court” hearings. After the laws are passed, they must be enforced.