Council member, John Simpson, walking his dog, Chloe.
Last night’s city council meeting drew an unusually large crowd as council member Darden Clarke proposed to strengthen the city’s leash law. Despite strong arguments on both sides, the council ultimately struck down the proposal and no one abstained.
The current law states that all pets must be in a fence, on a leash, or under the control, either verbal or manual, of its owner and dogs are no longer allowed to be chained outside. Clark’s proposal would have made owning a dog that has bitten someone a misdemeanor; any person convicted could be fined up to $500 and spend up to 5 nights in jail. Clark reasoned, “We’ve got to do something to stop this plague of dog bites in the city. Over the past month I’ve had complaints from at least 5 people in my district who have complained about being bitten or threatened by dogs. I believe that we need this law to get the attention of dog owners and tell them we expect them to act responsibly.” Other council members disagreed with the proposal. Council member, John Simpson, said “This is an idiotic approach to what may or may not be a serious problem… You don’t stop dog bites by incarcerating the owners.”
Debates continued for over an hour and once the floor was opened up to non-council members, other joined the chaos. Randy Noble, steel company owner, disagreed with the new idea and said “I believe the laws we have are strong enough. The city should just reinforce them better.” while Diane Wallace fervently agreed with the proposal, saying “Look at this little girl and tell me who’s responsible for this. Tell me who should be accountable for the pain that this little girl has and the fear she had to carry when she plays in her own neighborhood.” as she showed her daughter, Denise’s, legs that had three dog bites. Statistics were on Clarke’s and Diane’s side, as children are most likely to be bitten by dogs between the ages of 1 and 10.
Bradley Carter was quoted saying “No dog owner in the city is going to vote for you guys again if you pass a law like this one” and his words must have sunk in, because unfortunately for Clarke and his supporters, the vote was in favor of keeping the current leash law as voting ended with 5 to 2.
Disclaimer: This is not real news. This is an article written for a college classroom.