PTC Council dogged by loose pups on paths

Residents cite close calls with uncontrolled, unleashed dogs

The decision may not be to leash or not to leash.

A high-tech device might provide a way to keep dogs off leash and under control while also improving safety on Peachtree City’s

path system and streets.

At Tuesday night’s City Council workshop, resident Richard Linteris showed off a special wireless collar that can be triggered to shock a dog that misbehaves or strays too far.

“I guarantee you, you crank these up and you can get a dog to stop whatever he’s doing, the bad behavior, 100 percent of the time,” Linteris said.

A decision on the issue is likely not imminent as council members have requested more information from city staff. It is likely the city will have another workshop on the matter before the issue is brought up for a formal vote, officials said.

The electroshock collar may be the answer to pleas from those on both sides of the issue: those who want their dogs to roam leash-free and those who want protection from aggressive dogs, particularly on the city’s path system.

Linteris said the systems can cost between $100 and $500 with a range of a quarter mile to a mile.

Fayette County Animal Control Director Fred Sisson cautioned against relying on electroshock collars, as they are battery-powered and sometimes batteries can fail.

Several dog owners suggested that a leash law would not only penalize responsible dog owners, but it would not be obeyed by the irresponsible dog owners. Several anti-leash speakers said the city’s data doesn’t show any evidence of a need for a leash law.

But a handful of residents reported “close calls” with angry or mishandled dogs, some of whom aren’t on voice control as required by city ordinance because they don’t obey their owner’s commands.

Resident David Moulds said on one occasion a dog charged at his 5-year-old grandson at the edge of a creek. Another time an unleashed dog pinned Moulds against a tree, he said, “until the owner finally put it on a leash and took it away.”

As to the lack of data on dog incidents in the city, pro-leash speakers said it’s unlikely residents report “almost dog bites” to the police department, leaving a hole in the city’s data.

Michael Dolin said he likes taking his dog out early in the mornings for path excursions, but when he approaches another person, he puts the dog on a leash, “because I don’t know if that person has a fear.”

Dolin said he wasn’t sure how the city could force dog owners to be responsible, saying some people won’t obey whatever dog control law is established by the city.

Dog owner Steve Perry said a leash law wouldn’t address problems with irresponsible dog owners.

“You will continue to have pet owners who allow their dogs to jump on strangers,” Perry said. “.. At some point you need to consider how to determine who is a responsible pet owner and who is not.”

“The problem isn’t the dog, it’s the owners who think their dogs are under voice control,” said resident Kathie Cheney.

Everyone on both sides of the issue seemed to agree the problematic dogs on the path are those who have irresponsible owners.

City staff has withdrawn a recommendation to implement a leash law in place of the city’s current voice control system. While the police department has concerns about enforcing voice control, none of the seven dog bites reported in the city last year would have been prevented by use of a leash ordinance, said City Clerk Betsy Tyler.

City Councilman Eric Imker said he would like to see the city consider a system where dog owners would be allowed to qualify for the privilege of being allowed to have their dogs on voice control instead of a leash. He figured a small number of people who are that proficient with their dog’s control would actually meet the qualifications.

Imker said any such test should include a test of the dog’s behavior around young children.

Planning Commissioner Patrick Staples, who runs on the city’s path system, suggested that the city could perhaps designate certain dog-friendly areas so people who are skittish of dogs could be sure to avoid contact.

The city could also encourage citizens to leash their dogs by setting a high fine for a first offense, said Planning Commissioner Larry Sussberg.

Councilwoman Vanessa Fleisch said she hasn’t made up her mind on the issue, but she would like to strengthen the city’s ordinances to pursue the owners of loose dogs that attack people.

Complicating matters somewhat was a portion of Georgia law that Councilman Doug Sturbaum said is the equivalent of allowing a dog owner to get away with “the first bite free” without being held accountable in court. Sturbaum said he wanted to see more legal research in that area, and council also wanted clarity on whether the shock collar system can be considered a leash.

jeep2
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Leash Law

To the City Council: Please do not waste time gathering information and debating this. I will not re-hash all the reasons for needing,having and enforcing a leash law. It is ABSURD to NOT have one. Many times I have walked my dogs or biking only to approach a loose dog and not know if the animal is going to be aggressive. I prefer not to leash my dogs either BUT when out in public, they are harnessed (a better restraint alternative to a leash to the no-leash people). Guess I'll need to start cruising the paths with a walking stick or pepper spray to protect myself and family from the irresponsible "not my dog" pet owners. If you want your dog off leash; take it up to the dog park; not our streets and paths.

longhair09
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leash law

I have commented on this topic many times. As a user of the paths for running and bike riding I often have issues with "he won't hurt you" He will defend his area and owner. A runner or biker appears as a threat to a dumb animal. If you choose to not leash your mongrel then I reserve the right to defend myself from the threat and shoot the mongrel as he charges me.

Bonkers
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longhair

It is a waste of time to talk about leashed or unleashed dogs and cats! No matter what the law ends up being it will not be enforced! Not even as much as is the code violations enforced for parking on the front lawn or lawn looking like a gypsy camp!
They only react upon a complaint so they won't be blamed and even then they wait long enough to check violations so that they no longer exist!

These kind of laws are done to silence complaints only. Policemen won't do anything about them on their tours---not even call a code officer.

Sometimes even horses kick perps when a cop is riding a horse and a guy yells at another cop--kicks him all over---top of the head, both arms, legs, stomach. I saw it happening on TV. So many cops thumping the horse I couldn't see the horse kicking.

Is the Red Room still there?

jonia
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No leash??? Really???

Ok, so why would you NOT want to have your dog on a leash if you are on the golf cart paths? Let's see.....golf carts, bicycles, runners, other dogs, strollers...almost all of these elements present a danger to your dog (well, maybe not the stroller...) along with the fact that a loose dog creates a dangerous situation for everyone else. Doesn't matter if he's a "nice" dog. He still creates a problem when the golf cart or bicycle crashes trying to avoid hitting him, or as someone already pointed out, he approaches a leashed dog who may feel he has no other choice but to protect himself from the loose dog. I have had that problem many times when loose dogs have approached my leashed dog. I could tell my dog was very uncomfortable and nervous in that situation. I just don't understand why this is even a question????

jpopeye
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We need a polling feature on this thing

When it is a yes/no question how about The Citizen simply take a poll? This would give the council something to work with.

Leash law - yes

John Gault
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Grow up..

If you do not want to leash your pet, dog, cat, pig, ignorant child, or whatever then keep it at home in your fenced yard. Come on Gen xers, the boomers were bad enough, when are you going to grow up...

mudcat
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Yes indeed, Dear John

People who don't leash their dog are selfish and immature. They also have a slight arrogance that their training methods are superior to others. From there it is a slippery slope to owning a pit bull and attending dog fights.

Not having a leashed dog is gateway behavior to going to prison for a felony. Doncha think?

Bonkers
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mud

doncha think? You betcha! Howse that change goin forya?

Ya no I betcha you are the only TEA I know what want dogs ona leash!

Not even a law against dog bights!

The tree my goats are in in my picture have just eaten all of the kudzu from it! The goats are free to eat more kudzu and mow people's lawns for just enough to have a vet check the goats once a year.
These are not edible goats, they are working goats.

RKS
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Shock collars are not the answer...unless the stupid humans 'em

How on earth can intelligent people think that using shock collars will solve the problem with aggressive dogs. Before opening your mouth, get some education! Perhaps the stupid humans need to be shocked for allowing their poorly trained dogs off leash in PTC. Shock collars are NOT the answer.

John Gault
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Shock the Monkey...

I concur lets require the pet owner to wear the shock collar, and enable the citizenry to be able to text a certain code, for when fido gets out of hand we can exhault pain on the subsequent moron....Peace

TinCan
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Great, torture your dog in lieu of a leash

What is really needed is a people shock collar that is activated every time your dog gets more than 10 feet from you.

skyspy
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Best Suggestion Yet!

Thanks TinCan. That was funny.

Let the dog people be. I have had more property damage via the kids here than I have the dogs. What is the difference? It's not like any cart path ordinances are enforced anyway. Why come up with more ordinances if they aren't going to be enforced? Who cares? We need to just drop the whole issue.

What's next? Will they start to enforce the ordinance that says cyclists have to be on a cart path if one is visible from the road. Yeah, that will happen.....

Will you enforce the leash law that pertains to cats as well as dogs in our city? Why do we have so many stray cats running loose?? Yeah, I know we need to get a trap from the pound, trap the stray cats, and bring them to the pound. I get it.

Which laws are we going to enforce first?

Don Haddix
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Haddix: Leash Law

Regarding the State Law on the 'first bite free' issue what was not quoted was to negate that clause a dog either has to be on a leash or at heel when the bite occurs. So reality is a leash is required to overcome that clause of this very outdated law.

That plus a number of other concerns must be dealt with in resolving this issue.

scribbler
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Mr. Mayor.... The public interest is SAFETY.

This is a simple matter of public safety. A pet owner has every right within the confines of his owned/rented premises to control/command his [trained?] animal as they see fit.

However, once the animal is taken out into public spaces -- streets, parks, or path systems-- this becomes an issue of safeguarding others from the behavior of the animal.

Physical restraint is the only certain measure of controlling the animal. Voice control may be countermanded by the animal's primal instincts or appetites in a matter of mere seconds. These sundry gadgets are simply more layers of "Murphy's Law" to go wrong at the worst possible time... those first few seconds of an uncertain confrontation with an unleashed animal.

The higher public interest is served by ensuring--ENSURING--the safety of the users of public accommodations who walk/ride/bike with the reasonable expectation of being free from unnerving or injurious animal incidents.

I am a pet owner and gladly leash my pup for his own safety during walks. I have also suffered multiple severe bites by an unleashed "pet" who went from cooperative and friendly to quite vicious in mere seconds.

fluffybear
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How about establishing a

How about establishing a leash law which has some severe penalties for violating it. Maybe start the fine off at $100 and go up from there. How about adding a clause which would state that if dog does attack someone that not only the owner loses the dog but could face up to a year in jail.

I find it rather amusing that anti-leash advocates would be promoting a shock collar which relies on the owners to maintain and which are subject to cross talk meaning someone else could be on the same frequency as you and shocking your dog.

Let us stop and think a second about this, Would I rather spend a $100+ dollars on a collar which I have to maintain or $8.00 for a leash. More people will be willing to choose the $8.00 leash..

With so many of yards not having fences, dogs are free to go and do their business anywhere they want and many owners (including some who had voice control of their dogs) could care less. While a leash will not solve everything it does at least solve a few things.

It is not only time we pass a leash law but get more strict on those who violate it. If a leash law can prevent just one person or other animal from getting hurt, IT"S WORTH IT!!!

Bonkers
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Political drivel

Electric collars, leash your dog if someone coming, teaching everyone in the household how to walk the dog everyday, maybe twice! All just drivel!

The paths are not for animals and humans!

Put the dog in the car, go to the exercise place and exercise the dog. If you can't do that then fence the dog in your back yard and you clean up after him!

abc1234
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Electric Collars

My dog had an "electric fence" that delivered a shock to his collar when he passed the boundaries of the yard. Eventually, he came to associate the pain from the shock collar with the joy of getting out of the yard and running around the neighborhood. Quite a few dogs require physical restraint, even if it's only a reminder of proper behavior or a reinforcer of previous training.
I am a dog owner, and although my dog is a certified Canine Good Citizen and has been through obedience training, I do not place my trust on voice control to ensure his safety and the safety of the squirrels he loves/hates so much. He responds to my voice, but I am more than willing to put him on a leash for his own safety and the safety of those he encounters on the cart paths.
I also take into account the behavior of other dogs he encounters on walks... a dog that is on a leash will often feel threatened by a dog that is off a leash. I also want to be able to restrain my dog in the event of a hostile dog.

In short, it's in a dog's best interest to be on a leash on the cart paths or other public place. Voice control is by no means infallible.

Robert W. Morgan
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Bingo abc, you understand

"... a dog that is on a leash will often feel threatened by a dog that is off a leash"

Exactly right and probably the most compelling reason to have a leash law. Most dogs consider a leash a connection to its owner and even a form of security. An unleashed dog is seen as a threat whether it is or not. So the one unleashed dog creates a situation where you have 2 dogs exited or worse.

If all are on a leash, even bad situations are mostly controllable by just pulling your dog away.

Come on council, grow a pair and make a law like other towns and get on with it. Don't get all distracted by electric collars and licensing and testing for voice control. That was truly a stupid idea - testing dogs including the part where a young child is passed in front of the dog. Can you imagine the liability from when the first dog fails his test? Whose kids are you going to use for that? Not mine! Maybe you can get the young looking deputy sheriffs they use for liquor stings.

Bonkers
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DOGS

You are correct!
Dogs are dogs, I don't care how much they cost, how sweet they are, how unsmelly they are, dogs are dogs.
Also, they can't be toys for kids.....to be abandoned when you like.

ddodge
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leash

For citizen safety, all dogs should be on a leash on cart paths. No exception. Its very simple and should not require all kinds of debate.

fluffybear
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What really frustrates me is

What really frustrates me is the the anti-leash crowd shouting how it impacts there freedom and punishes responsible owners. What about my freedom of not wanting to be harassed by your hound while I walk on the path? What about the freedom of my children and newborn in his stroller? Why should they risk being bitten by your hound because they are snacking on something?

Shock collars are a joke, there range is extremely limited and even more so in non open space. I seriously hope are city officials are not going to fall for this. Do they really believe that more people are likely to spend a $100+ on a hock collar and learn to use it properly when all it really takes is something so simple as an $8.00 leash?

As far as I am concerned, anyone who walks there dog in public areas and does not have a way to restrain it is not a responsible dog owner. TRUE RESPONSIBLE DOG OWNERS USE A LEASH..