Vicious dog ordinance passed in Pontotoc County

By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress

The Pontotoc County supervisors have passed a vicious dog ordinance which will go into effect by mid-August.

The law is not a leash law such as the one in the city which requires all dogs to be on a leash or in a pen. “We are not going to pick up stray dogs and run a pound,” Wayne Stokes, president of the board stressed. “This ordinance deals specifically with dogs that are vicious and are menace to society.”

Pure and simply it is meant to protect those in the county from dogs that are mean spirited. While the law itself can’t protect a person from being bitten, it spells out the consequences for having such a dog.

The board has been hard pressed to pass a dog ordinance particularly since February when a pit bulldog claimed the life of a Pontotoc County man days earlier in his landlord’s yard at Randolph.

The relatives of Ronnie Waldo came to to the meeting urging supervisors to draft a law that would require people who own vicious animals to keep them on a chain or in a pen.

After months of studying ordinances from other communities the size of Pontotoc and discussions on how the ordinance would be carried out, the supervisors passed the coming law at their July 5 meeting.

However, it won’t become law until August 12 or thirty days from now because the legal notice on the ordinance is in today’s paper.

The twelve part ordinance defines what is considered a vicious dog, sets forth provisions for an animal control officer, the fees that apply and how the law will be enforced. It also makes poisoning a dog unlawful as well as the training of dogs to attack humans or domestic dogs when unprovoked. A vicious dog is defined by the ordinance as one that approaches a person in a dangerous or terrorizing manner on the streets, sidewalks or any public places in the county.

It is also described as one with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked and one that bites inflicts injury or attacks a human or a domestic dog without provocation on public or private property. Anther description is one that is harbored or trained for the purpose of fighting other dogs.

It does not include a police dog that is used to assist law officers. It also does not include a dog that that has caused injury or damage on a person who is committing a willful trespass or crime on the premises of the dog owner. It means the dog has the right to protect the home or person if someone is trying to steal, kill or destroy within that private domain.

If a vicious dog is picked up it will be held for up to ten days for the owner to come claim and after it is claimed, the owner must pen or chain the dog. An impounding fee of $25 will be assessed the owner as well as a $7 per day maintenance fee.

If the dog is declared vicious or feral or if it is suffering from an injury to the point that it is unlikely to live, it may be put to death immediately to mercifully end its life.

If a dog aggressively attacks and causes severe injury or death of any human it will be taken into custody and put to death. The complete ordinance may be read in its entirety in the legal notice section.