Irresponsible Pet Owners May Be Deterred By Fines

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by Sherrie McQuerrey

payson

Bravo to Gila County rabies control officer Mick Greer for his efforts to bring the perpetrator to justice in the puppy abandonment case reported in the Jan. 4 issue of the Payson Roundup.

Contrary to Greer's statement that "everybody hates the dogcatcher," I believe only those in violation of town and county pet ordinances hate him. And who cares what they think?

As an animal lover and citizen who complies with pet ordinances, I'm fed up with those who don't. And I'm disappointed to learn that the same irresponsible people who repeatedly violate these laws face absolutely no consequences even when they are identified and reported! It's about time someone went after the offenders, and I'm grateful Officer Greer had the courage to lead the charge.

I sincerely hope the Town makes hiring a full-time animal control officer a priority. There have been numerous reports of attacks by dogs at large, dog poisonings, animal neglect and, as noted by Humane Society manager Diane Fitzpatrick, there are animals abandoned on her doorstep every week. All these problems are the result of irresponsible pet owners who will remain irresponsible until they are faced with some penalty for their violations.

In my neighborhood alone, there are no less than five dogs at large on a daily basis. They are not housed, or fenced, or chained by their owners, and are allowed to roam the streets at will. Their least offense is to "do their business" in a neighbor's yard. Their worst offense is to terrorize people on foot or children riding bicycles or pets whose owners dare to take them out for a walk on a leash. At least one of these dogs has had a litter of pups within the last six months, and she's still on the loose.

Enough is enough. Owning a pet is a responsibility, not a right. Let's start issuing some citations to repeat offenders. Fines levied against those who neglect their responsibility might be a deterrent, and they might also help generate enough revenue to pay a dogcatcher's salary.

Take a bite out of their wallets and maybe the deadbeat dog owners will start taking better care of their animals. If not, perhaps they will decide owning a pet is a luxury they can't afford.

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