Editorial: Habitual Offenders

The Herald has heard numerous complaints lately from residents in the City of Dillon about dogs running loose and in some cases terrorizing entire neighborhoods. A citizen appeared before the Dillon City Council last month to make a complaint about dogs running loose.
Citizens should feel that they can walk safely outside and around their homes without being approached or even chased by someone else’s dog. Citizens should be able to walk down their streets or exercise without fear.
The City of Dillon has a fairly simple leash law that should be easy to understand. It states:
§ 6-4-14 LEASH LAW
(A) It shall be unlawful for any owner or possessor of any dog to allow the dog to run at large, whether wearing a collar and tag or not, within the city. Any and all such dogs found running at large, whether wearing a collar and tag or not, shall be immediately impounded by officers of the city.
(B) Any dog is considered running at large and not under immediate control if it is not on a leash, not at heel, or not beside a competent person and obedient to that person’s commands. A dog is under control when it is in a vehicle driven or parked, or confined within the property limits of his or her owner.
(C) Whenever any dog is adjudged to be vicious by the municipal court and is subsequently found at large, it shall be the duty of the Police Department to kill the dog.
This law should be easy to follow. Anyone can have a dog get loose every now and again, and that’s understandable. Common sense needs to be used when applying the law, but the complaints that The Herald has received as of late have been about habitual offenders and the same dogs again and again. It wouldn’t take long for the word to spread if a few habitual offenders were fined or if these owners felt enforcement was going to be taken seriously.
Many citizens have told The Herald that they do not know how or where to contact the city’s animal control officer to get assistance. The city should do more to make this information more readily available to the public.
A little enforcement and little more knowledge of how to contact the people in charge could go a long way.