A dog who has allegedly attacked and bitten four residents in the Carman Street area, as well as reported attacks on other pets, has prompted consideration of a vicious dog ordinance by the City Council.
The council heard July 7 from resident Linda Hartman of Carman Street who said police responded to a report of a dog attacking a 14-year-old child on June 15 in her neighborhood. She said the child was allegedly dragged by the dog down the driveway and neighbors confronted the dog, striking and pinning it down so the teen could escape.
Police came and placed the dog on a 10-day quarantine at the owner’s home, after which time it was released and allowed to remain with the owner.
Hartman said Genesee County Animal Control would not take action to remove the dog from the household because it claimed Burton does not have a vicious dog ordinance.
“This has to stop,” said Hartman, who claims four people have been bitten by the dog in two years. “I’m not for putting animals down, but this dog has to go.”
She said animal control does not respond to her calls, claiming they cannot do anything about the dog because the city does not have an ordinance regarding vicious dogs.
City Councilwoman Ellen Ellenberg said she wants the city to consider an ordinance, but wants the council to get the wording right so it is effective.
“This has happened more than once,” said Ellenberg. “It’s a danger to our community.”
The city is already in the process of drafting an ordinance regarding dogs running loose and could add language covering vicious animals.
Councilman Duane Haskins said he is dissatisfied with the county’s response to the problem and questioned how Burton taxpayers can pay county taxes and not be protected by animal control.
“If Genesee County can’t protect our people, what can we do?” Haskins asked City Attorney Richard Austin. “How do we force a county entity to do its job?”
Austin said the city can’t force the county to do anything about vicious dogs, unless it has an ordinance in place.
But he warned drafting a dangerous dog ordinance is “very difficult” because the wording has to be very careful and specific.
Haskins balked at the legislative process, calling it “ridiculous.”
“We don’t need an ordinance to get them (the county) to do their job,” he said.
Administrative Assistant Rik Hayman said in his talks with the county, officials have clearly put the burden of enforcing any sort of regulation over the dog on Carman Street back on the city.
“Clearly they’d rather this be our problem,” said Hayman. “They want Burton City Police to be animal control.”
Councilman Danny Wells said he thinks there is no accountability at the county offices, something he said he would like to see change.
The council asked Hartman to bring her claims to a July 21 legislative committee meeting at city hall at 6 p.m.