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Roaming dogs again a town issue

by Tom Chillemi

Nuisance dogs have at least one Urbanna resident calling for a leash law.

On July 24, town resident Diane Gravatt wrote a scathing letter to the Urbanna Town Council pointing out enforcement problems with the current town animal ordinance.

Attempts in the past to enact a leash law in town have brought considerable opposition.

Currently, dogs can run free in Urbanna if they wear a collar and county tag, said town administrator Lewis Filling at Monday’s council meeting.

Dogs can roam as long as they are not a nuisance, and the town code lists offenses.

Enforcement is the problem, Gravatt contends in her letter. A nuisance dog must first be “captured” so that the tag can be read, she wrote. “No citizen of the Town of Urbanna should be expected to catch and capture a roaming dog in order to identify the owner.”

Gravatt wrote that she has been harassed by two large dogs that have come on her porch and have “barked and charged at her dogs, which were leashed.”

Gravatt wrote, “Dogs running loose pose a danger to anyone walking their own dog on a leash.”

A leash law, wrote Gravatt, “will require that the responsibility for proper conduct of dogs remains with the owner of the dog, and not on property owners.”

On Monday, the dog complaint was turned over to the Public Safety Committee comprised of Mayor Beatrice Taylor, and council members Bill Thrift and Lee Chewning.

“It’s time for a leash law hearing,” said council member Janet Smith.

The dog problems could be discussed at council’s next meeting on Sept. 11 at 4 p.m.

posted 08.20.2009

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