Doggone new law
Though word seems to be spreading that there's a stricter leash law in Charlottesville's near future, that's actually not the case, says Holly Hatcher, whose dog was attacked by an off-leash pit bull in February 2005. After that attack, in which Hatcher was also bitten and subsequently had to undergo a series of rabies shots, she became one of the driving forces behind the new animal ordinance city council will consider at the public hearing on Monday, November 6.
While unneutered dogs will be required to be on leash at all times except in designated dog parks, the majority of the ordinance pertains to increasing owner's responsibility for their animals' behavior.
In addition to requiring unneutered dogs to be on-leash, the new ordinance would include: limiting the chaining or tethering of dogs to 9 hours per day; increasing the dog license fee from $7 to $10 for unneutered animals and decreasing the fee from $5 to $4 for neutered animals; prohibiting the confinement of animals in motor vehicles under conditions that would endanger their health and safety and allowing animal control or law enforcement officers to enter the vehicle in such situations; and finally, enacting a new permit and inspection requirement for circuses as well as a ban on the use of chemical, mechanical, electrical or manual devices that would cause an animal pain during training.
While the last point was added in after the controversial Carson & Barnes circus came to town in September, Hatcher says, most of the ordinance is aimed at the owners of man's best friend.
"If you're going to be a dog owner," says Hatcher, "be responsible."