Dog Task Force

By: Laura Gibbs
By: Laura Gibbs

19-year-old Marco Washington continues to recover from a severe dog bite. Tuesday night though city and county leaders attack the viscous dog issue so almost 200 dog incidents over the past two months stop.

This is one of the first times county and city leaders came together to talk about a problem that pretty much everyone agrees has gotten out of hand. Right now in Rockford 37 dogs have been declared viscous. A number that most at the meeting say would be a lot higher if everyone was working under the same rules.

Interim Animal Services Director, Gary Longanecker was able to voice some of his frustrations that he has his officer have been under. Longanecker says he has limited staff to deal with situations and not a lot of laws to help combat the problems.

Tougher laws was the main idea attacked, along with a higher compliance rate with county, city and animal services officers. Laws very from city to city making it hard to standardize how dog incidents are treated and fined. Although there was no definite answer from this first meeting, city and county leaders are encouraged that the meeting is a step that hasn't ever been taken.

The next step is for city and county legal to meet and look at the laws hoping to unify them.

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How to Avoid a Dog Attack

Here's How:

  • Keep a safe distance between yourself and dogs being walked on leash.
  • Ask owner's permission before approaching a dog, on leash or in yard.
  • Never approach a barking, snarling, sleeping, eating, or nursing dog.
  • Do not stare the dog in the eyes.
  • Turn sideways and slowly withdraw.
  • Put an object such as a tree, post, or bench between you and the dog.
  • Speak softly and gently to calm the dog, "Good dog, it's OK, go home."
  • Stand still or maintain a constant slow pace out of the dog's territory.
  • If local law allows, use pepper spray when charged by the dog.
  • If charged, get something between you and the dog's mouth: umbrella, pack, jacket, stick.
  • If attacked, curl up in a ball and protect your face, neck, and head.
  • Report unleashed aggressive dogs to the local police.

Tips:

  • You can't outrun the dog, not even an Olympic sprinter could.
  • Be aware of dogs a block or more ahead, change your route or turn around to avoid unleashed dogs.
  • Know the weapons laws in the community you are walking in and obey them.

    www.walking.about.com contributed these tips.


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