Stricter Penalties for Dog Owners in Forsyth County Due to New Dog Ordinance

Posted on Sep 28, 2008
My Fox WGPH Channel 8 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina reports that the new dog ordinance was approved by the board of commissioners and the advisory board. The proposal puts in place stricter penalties for the owners of aggressive dogs in Forsyth County. Forsyth County includes the cities and towns of Bethania, Clemmons, Kernersville, High Point, King, Lewisville, Rural Hall, Tobaccoville, Walkertown, and Winston-Salem. It also includes the townships of Abbot's Creek, Belew's Creek, Bethania, Broadbay, Clemmonsville, Lewisville, Middle Fork, Old Richmond, Old Town, Salem Chapel, South Fork, and Vienna.

The law deals with the definition of what an aggressive dog is: no, any dog that shows signs of aggression, such as biting or killing another animal, can be called aggressive. If a dog is officially classified as aggressive - through showing the signs above - owners must buy liability insurance, have the dog fixed, and register the dog as aggressive with the county. Registered dogs are logged and photographed. In addition, the dog must be on a leash and muzzle when taken out of for walks. The final requirement is that owners of potentially dangerous dogs must pay a yearly $100 licensing fee.

If the owner of the aggressive dog does not follow these steps, he or she could face fines up to $500.

This change in the dog ordinance came after the county animal control reported that dog bites and animal attacks were at an all-time high of 600 in 2007. Several public forums were held in past weeks in order to hear voices from the community and take suggestions and questions.

Before deciding on these specific measures, the commissioners considered a spectrum of different solutions to curb dog bites. At one point, a ban on certain breeds of dogs was considered. However, more research was done into dog bite statistics as well as animal ordinances in other parts of the country, and the present agreement was made. Although some breeds of dog are more prone to aggression than others, all types of dogs can be dangerous. The final decision was to focus on the owners' responsibility for their dogs, and not judge dogs on their breeds.

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