Tuesday, September 12, 2000

Critics: Dog laws outdated, ignored

The Associated Press

        LEXINGTON — A lawyer for the father of a girl mauled by dogs warns such attacks could be repeated unless lawmakers improve dog laws and communities enforce them.

        The state gets 6,000 reports of animal bites each year. Heather Jarvis, 11, was pulled from her bicycle near her Lawrence County home.

        Enforcement of the state licensing law is almost nonexistent in some places, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported Sunday.

        The state also requires counties to have a dog war den and a shelter, but in some the warden is someone whose main job is elsewhere.

        Lexington lawyer James M. Morris blames a 50-year-old law created to protect farm animals. “You can put down a dog quicker for biting a cow than you can for biting a child.”

        State law requires dogs older than 6 months to be licensed each year; about 10 percent of owners buy tags.

        Beckey Reiter, Boone County's animal control director, agrees that many counties have a way to go. “As a state, I think we do horrible,” she said.


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