Recent Dog Attack Underscores Leash Laws

Many cities in Alabama have what are called Leash Laws, which require dog owners to keep control of their pets.

However, in the county areas, outside of the city, there are very few regulations.

Only 10 counties in Alabama have voted on and passed the self governance law.

In fatal dog attacks, one out of 177 involves a burglar, where as a child, seven out of 10 children are killed by dogs they know or family dogs in fatal dog attacks.

If more counties passed the self governance law, it would allow authorities to enforce nuisance abatements such as dangerous dogs and noise complaints.

Houston County is considering putting a vote before the people under the self governance law referred to as limited home rule.

Mark Culver, with the Houston Co. Commission said, “There was a law passed two years ago in the state legislature with a vote of the people to have that ability. We are considering putting that on the ballot next November.”

If the voters agree to it, there would be other procedures to go through to put the ordinance in place and levels of warning to set for dangerous dogs.

Culver added that this is, “A difficult issue, but we want to be sure all of our citizens are safe. If there is a dangerous dog issue we want to do all we can to address it.”

Dog experts and physicians say Mariah Carver is very lucky to survive a level six dog attack.

So what should you do if you are approached by a strange dog? How do you protect yourself?

First of all, don't smile at the dog or look it directly in the eyes. To a dog, that can be a challenge.

Certified Professional Dog Trainer Renee Jones explains, “Keep shoulders up, back straight and just slowly walk a different direction, don't run; [that’s the] worst thing they can do. Also, don't scream because children have very high pitched voices, so dogs love squeaky toys. So when you put those things together, from a dog’s point of view, it looks like a mobile squeaky toy on the run.”

And, if you are attacked and knocked down by a dog, drop down on your knees, with feet tucked up as close to your body as you can and put your hands behind your neck, forearms covering your ears. This position gives you the greatest protection.

The bottom line: authorities are looking for ways that will help prevent what happened to Mariah Carver from happening to anyone else.