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Leland’s police chief was given a long leash to decide if dogs are a threat to residents.
The town board established a dangerous dog ordinance at its Sept. 19 meeting.
Ernie Chance of Garden Drive spoke to the board about dogs running loose in his neighborhood.
“I’ve lived 45 years in Leland,” Chance said of his home on Basin Street. “At the house across the street there are two pit bulls with no collars that came right up on my porch. Something needs to be done.”
Chance said another neighbor was pinned to his door by the dogs, but nothing has been done.
“I shot one with my BB gun. I’m not going to put up with it,” he said.
Mayor Brenda Bozeman asked if the town has an ordinance requiring tags for dogs.
Manager David Hollis said the town does not have a registration requirement for dogs in the town limits.
Katherine Harris also spoke to the board, explaining it was her husband who was cornered by the dogs.
“My husband was the one that got pinned and it took 45 minutes to get the police department,” Harris said.
Harris said they called 911 because the police department is closed after 5 p.m. The dogs were gone by the time the police arrived.
She said she was told the dogs don’t have to have tags, but she felt that was the least that could be done.
“I’ve bought dogs from the shelter and I had to buy tags,” Harris said.
She added that she has had to call police twice about the dogs from a neighboring residence.
“It’s becoming a nuisance,” she said.
Hollis said the state allows towns to make a determination if a dog is dangerous.
The town code would not allow possession or harboring of a dangerous dog in town.
The town can select one person who can make the determination, usually the chief of police.
With the dangerous dog ordinance, the chief can decide if a dog would be allowed to remain within the town limits. If the chief decides a dog is dangerous, the owner can appeal to the town.
A board of appeal would be made up of the town manager and two commissioners.
If the board of appeal determines the dog is dangerous, the owner could then appeal the decision through the court system.
“The board would make the final decision for the town; the owner can then appeal in state court,” Hollis said.
Commissioner Pat Batleman asked if the town’s board should include a veterinarian.
Town Attorney John Wessell said they could include a veterinarian but it is not necessary.
Commissioner Jon Tait asked if the ordinance would address the dog issues that were brought up during the public comments.
With confirmation that it would from town staff, Tait made the motion to approve the town’s dangerous dog ordinance which passed unanimously, 5-0.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or email@example.com.