By Margaret Seward
ROCHESTER, NY – The majority of calls to police departments in Monroe County about animals endangering human lives come from the lower-income, urban areas. This means a lot more people and a lot less space. Animals, even adorable, house-trained dogs, require space to be happy and healthy. They may lash out if they’re not getting what they need.
While the Monroe County Dispatch Center data table does not provide information on the types of animals involved in these incidents, Lauren Daniel, an officer with Suffolk Animal Control, explains that calls to urban areas usually involve dogs or birds. The farther from the city you get the higher the chances of a call involving raccoons, opossums, snakes, etc. However, the overall majority of calls are about dangerous dogs.
The Monroe County Municipal Code definition of a dangerous dog is broad enough to span all dogs which attack, chase or worry a person or domestic animal while still being specific enough to cover dogs “whose larynx has been removed or whose bark or growl has been altered or muffled to prevent persons from being alerted to the presence of said dog, under circumstances where the dog is providing protection or security, or so as to put a person in reasonable fear of his or her safety.”
“Upon finding a dog to be a dangerous dog, the Court may order the immediate destruction of the dog,” states the Monroe County Municipal Codes. There are other options, however, which include the owner paying monetary fines, the dog being leashed, muzzled, confined or neutered, the dog to undergo obedience training, etc.
None of those punishments are nearly as heartbreaking as having to euthanize your pet. But you must consider where a majority of these dangerous dog owners live and what a financial burden trying to keep the dog is. The fine can be up to $1,000. The owner is required to pay for any neutering, implantations or obedience schooling. And whether the dog is to be terminated or not, the owner must purchase, attend and successfully complete a class on dog ownership and responsibility. All of this is piled on top of the fees it already takes to register and care for a dog. It can sometimes be too much.
Human-life-endangered-by-animal datacards mapped by Address colored by Median Household Income (in 2014 dollars) 2010-2014