After being charged by a neighborhood dog on two separate occasions, a Franklin County man is working with other concerned residents to circulate a petition asking city officials to take action.
Stephen Stanley, a resident of Valier, plans on circulating the petition addressing aggressive dogs. Stanley intends to present the petition to the Valier Village Board at its July 23 meeting.
The push comes after two incidents in which pit bull dogs in the neighborhood charged Stanley. The first time Stanley was in his own yard; another he was in a neighbor’s driveway. In a separate incident, Stanley witnessed the same dog chase a jogger.
Neighbors, he said, have grown concerned that the aggressive, territorial behavior will eventually turn tragic for one of the neighborhood children or retired elderly residents.
“To me this is an accident waiting to happen,” Stanley said. “I don’t think it’s a matter of if, it’s a matter of when. That’s what bothers me.”
“I’m being threatened in my own yard,” he added. “I have to turn around and look over my shoulder every time I’m in my back yard to see if that dog is on a chain.”
Stanley said he would like to see village officials enact an ordinance barring certain vicious or aggres-sive breeds, but Valier Mayor Marty Buchanan questions the legality of such an ordinance.
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Buchanan asked the village attorney to look into an ordinance passed in nearby Sesser, and whether such an ordinance could be implemented in Valier. Buchanan said he was told a breed-specific ordi-nance does not have any teeth and would not hold up in court.
“I don’t want to do that, just to have something out there to satisfy the people when I know it’s not going to make any difference,” said Buchanan.
The village’s attorney is researching local, county and state laws, and potential fines regarding animal control in order to see if officials can update or strengthen its laws. Buchanan expects an update from the attorney by the July 23 meeting.
In the meantime, the village is working with county animal control, and an individual contracted with the county to increase patrols and respond to issues.
“We’re trying to do everything we can to work with the people who are concerned about these dogs,” said Buchanan.