Friday, February 01, 2008

Bad dog! Good database?

…Virginia has instituted a registry of vicious dogs similar to the Sex Offenders Registry, according to an article by Tamara Warta in Government Technology Magazine.

…You can go to it and find pictures of the offending animal and its address. Check it out:

…Some Virginians think it’s too harsh a measure, other say it’s not harsh enough.

…The too-harsh camp says it’s like a McCarthy blacklist. The not-harsh-enoughers say they want even more info on the rogue pets. A number of people also complain that their locality is not covered.

…One person wrote and said they track the dangerous dogs on a bike route before going for a ride.

…That person has had a run-in, HA bets. HA’s daughter, as she once reported on this blog, almost got her upper lip bitten off by a pit (19 stitches) and another pit put her sister’s greyhound in the hospital. Search on “dog” in blank at the top of this page.

…A lot of planning went into the Virginia site. Any resident can complain, but the complaint has to be investigated. They want to make sure feuding neighbors don’t badmouth dogs. Animals must be declared dangerous by a court.

…But one bite is all it takes. Some states let the dog have the first one free. Not Virginia.

…One unintended consquence—owners now sometimes chain up dogs, making them even more bad-tempered.

…To get a dog off the registry, owners must buy $100,000 worth of insurance, place signs in the windows of their home, and attach a special tag to the dog.

…Maybe the best thing about this is the big sign on the house. HA doubts a website would have prevented her incidents. Her sister easily found out from Animal Control that the dog that savaged her greyhound had priors.

…Alas, since writing that, HA now has some other direct experience. Her new dog Jim is a nipper—he goes after men’s pant legs and grrrs and pulls on them. This is worrisome. She doesn’t want Jim to turn up on America’s Most Wanted.

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