Animals, Civic Responsibility, Crime, Local Issues, Provo History, Safety Issues

Solving the Dog Problem

Click to see original imageDog ordinances may vary to some extent city to city – but generally they aren’t markedly different from Provo’s which requires that dogs be confined to private property unless accompanied by a member of the family. The canines are not permitted to run at large; they must be controlled at all times, which means a leash or other restraint.

Violations of the ordinance are numerous and require continued vigilance by animal control departments who often face monumental tasks in pursuance of their duty to enforce the laws. Sometimes public cooperation isn’t what it ought to be.

Judging by the Provo experience, these are the regulations that probably are most frequently violated: Failure to license a dog; removing the collar bearing the tags; failure to get the “kennel” permit required if a family has three or more animals; abandoning pups; harboring dogs that bite; and failure to have canines vaccinated.

Provo’s ordinance requires that dogs be licensed by a Feb. 28 deadline. Many owners fail to comply, and the follow-up is pretty much a continual process. One source estimated that only about 60 per cent of the dogs in the city are licensed on the initiative of their owners. If this is true, the situation would seem to demand more civic responsibility on the part of those owners who drag their feet.

One violation that seems especially irresponsible is abandoning of dogs… mainly pups – leaving them in remote places or at someone else’s doorstep. We urge that if you have no way to legitimately dispose of a dog, you contact the humane society or city pound. These agencies will make an effort to find an owner.

Provo has a fairly-new ordinance designed to control habitual violators. It provides that if a dog cited four times or more in one year, the animal must either be disposed of (in a humane manner) or be placed with a family outside the city.

Dogs which run loose, maul flowers and tip over garbage cans constitute a special nuisance and provoke repeated complaints. Under normal circumstances owners of such dogs wouldn’t be entitled to much protection under the law. Yet the fact that an animal isn’t under control doesn’t entitle anyone to maliciously display cruelty toward the animal. Such actions are a violation under the law and classified as a misdemeanor.

In view of the rabies possibility and health hazard, it would seem one of the first steps a dog owner should take is to have his animal vaccinated. Yet, according to a Provo officer, many violate this law.

As with so many things, good citizenship would seem to dictate that any dog owner exercise responsibility in seeing that the law is carried out, going the second mile to be sure the rights of his neighbors are not trampled.

We suggest animal control officers of the various areas exercise leadership in carrying out educational as well as enforcement programs. But we emphasize that any successful dog program requires also an alert, responsive, and cooperative citizenship on the part of dog owners.

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