If your dog is not too friendly with strangers, you might want to make sure he’s not going to get loose at the wrong time.
Garner council members approved new restrictions on dangerous animals last week, which will give the police department and and animal control officers more freedom to take the dog away and penalize owners who aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect other people from their pet.
The new rules add an important element to the definition the town uses to declare an animal dangerous. Any animal that approaches a person in an apparent mode of attack when the animal is not on his owner’s property could now be labeled as dangerous.
That designation is important because animals and their owners don’t fall under the penalty phase of the new ordinance unless the animal has formally been declared dangerous.
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Once that happens, an animal that attacks another person could draw penalties for its owner, including fines of as much as $150 plus any shelter fees the animal incurs after police pick it up.
Council has been studying changes to the ordinance since a June incident in which a boy and his father were attacked by a neighbor’s dog as the father approached the neighbor’s front door.
Council members approved the changes quickly. “I think this makes it a much more appropriate ordinance for allowing us act on these kinds of things,” said council member Ken Marshburn.