Councilor Addresses Dogs

ST. MARYS — A city councilor Monday night said he believes some dog owners in St. Marys are being irresponsible with their pets.

Bill Slemmons, the 2nd Ward Councilor for the city of St. Marys, said he has noticed more pit bulls and rottweilers running at-large. Slemmons said a resident outside his house was cornered by three dogs.

“The patrolman came down,” Slemmons said. “There’s a lot of (dogs) running around.”

Under current city law, any dog that is being walked must be on a leash. Slemmons said owners who do not follow the ordinance are being irresponsible.

“They are running loose and we want to control them because a lot of people won’t walk around on account of the dogs,” Slemmons told The Evening Leader. “I think something should be done. If you can’t control your pet, then you shouldn’t have one.”

Police Administrative Assistant Patti Hamilton said there have recently been a few incidents involving pit bulls. One such incident last week resulted in a pair of dogs attacking and killing another dog last week.

“Pit bulls have to be muzzled,” Hamilton said of the dogs when the animals leave the owner’s property. “According to the dog warden, even if it is mixed with another breed, it’s considered a pit bull. You have to have liability insurance, it has to be in a fence or cage with a top on it and if you walk it, it has to be muzzled.”

Hamilton noted the breed has recently been the cause of several problems.

“Pit bulls seem to be more of a problem in this area,” Hamilton said. “He (Auglaize County Dog Warden Russ Bailey) does go out and cite people. ... The attack that happened this last week, those dogs have been put down by the owners. The owners took care of that.”

St. Marys Police Chief Greg Foxhoven said since Bailey assumed the position of dog warden, his department’s dog-at-large complaints have dropped because now Bailey responds to such calls. Foxhoven said Bailey often checks up on owners of pit bulls to make sure they are in compliance with the law.

“When the dog warden first came on board, we had a list of people who had pit bulls and they went through and for the most part they got them into compliance,” Foxhoven said. “Some of them might now be in compliance and there have been a few cases where we have had to have subsequent contact with owners.”

The next meeting of the St. Marys City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at the city building located along East Spring Street.