Residents in Great Falls, Montana have an opportunity to offer their suggestions and input on how to hold irresponsible dog owners accountable for the actions of their dogs. While the incident that sparked a citizen request for higher accountability reportedly involved a “pit bull,” it appears any changes to the current ordinance would not be breed specific.
This is an excellent opportunity for residents to get involved in creating a safer community for everyone – people, as well as animals – by focusing on the root of the problem at hand…irresponsible dog owners.
Increase in reported dog attacks in Great Falls
Posted: Dec 9, 2011 7:20 PM by Jen Hollenbach (Great Falls)
Updated: Dec 10, 2011 1:07 AM
Animal control officers in Great Falls tell us that they have seen more dog attacks reported this month than in all of the last year.
One of them occurred last week, when Ginny Malby and her golden retriever Honey suffered injuries in an attack.
While walking Honey, Ginny came across a pit bull that was lose – and then it attacked.
Malby said, “It had its’ mouth on Honey’s head. It was biting her and Honey started to scream and I was hanging on to the leash for dear life.”
Honey was taken to the vet and was worked on for hours, while Malby was at the hospital being treated for a fractured shoulder.
In an effort to make dog control policies more proactive in protecting citizens and their pets, Malby’s husband Larry asked the Great Falls City Commission to consider mechanisms to hold the owners of pit bulls accountable.
Malby said that he is not advocating a ban of pit bulls, but some sort of measure of protection against irresponsible owners.
He said that if the policies change, they wouldn’t be directed specifically at pit bulls.
Malby said, “It’s an all-encompassing thing, people have to be aware if they have a dog that is more aggressive, they have to take special care to make sure it is on a leash and they’re in control of the dog, not the dog controlling them.”
Certified dog trainer Melanie Lattin noted, “A huge piece of what needs to happen is education for people.”
Malby says through this whole ordeal has been unpleasant, but hopes the community and its representatives can find a way to have a more proactive approach in preventing problems before they arise.