The Grayson County Fiscal Court is looking to take action in the near future to address the issue of “uncontrolled, aggressive dogs” in the county.
During the court’s regular meeting on Tuesday afternoon, Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon discussed the matter, which he has, in recent months, investigated with 1st District Magistrate Kevin Fulkerson.
“Gentlemen of the court, we have a problem in the county,” Logsdon said.
That problem, according to Logsdon, is aggressive dogs, owned by an individual or individuals, who trespass on others’ property and/or in the roadway.
Logsdon said his office receives numerous complaints regarding this issue, and some recent examples from the beginning of the year include a county resident whose neighbor’s dog would often come into his yard and bark at him, making him feel threatened, as well as the case of a cyclist who, while out riding, experienced a dog going under her bicycle and flipping it. The woman was unresponsive as a result of the incident and had to be revived by CPR.
Fulkerson said he was bitten by a dog last year while riding his bike and has seen video footage of a number of other instances in which individuals in his district were harassed or attacked by an aggressive dog.
“I think everyone needs to take control of their animals — for their safety and others,” Fulkerson said.
While Kentucky Revised Statutes permit individuals in such situations to eliminate the animal, Logsdon said, many individuals simply do not want to kill animals. This is where the county’s proposed ordinance comes in.
Grayson County Judge Executive Kevin Henderson concurred that an ordinance is likely needed.
“I have three dogs,” Henderson said. “It’s my responsibility to keep them out of other people’s yards and out of people’s way. Unfortunately, we have some who don’t.”
Logsdon said that an ordinance would not merely be about a dog being in a prohibited area, but it would be this combined with the dog making someone feel threatened and/or hurting someone.
Additionally, Logsdon clarified that police would not be involved with the enforcement of the ordinance; rather, it would be enforced by the county animal control officer and the Grayson County Attorney’s Office.
The initial draft of the ordinance, which Logsdon read Tuesday, would have instituted penalties for owners of dogs found to be trespassing on another’s property or a roadway and harassing and/or injuring a person, including fines, restitution, and seizure of the animal by the county animal control officer.
However, following this reading, 2nd District Magistrate Darin Whitely said he has received four complaints from residents in his district in which dogs ventured onto another person’s property and killed or injured their pets or livestock, and he asked that the ordinance include language to address this issue as well.
Logsdon suggested that the ordinance be limited to addressing obvious injury or death in this situation, and the fiscal court agreed.
The court then passed a motion to add language to the ordinance addressing injury or death to another person’s pets and/or livestock as a result of a trespassing dog.
The first reading of the updated ordinance will likely be held in January.
4th District Magistrate Damon Hornback questioned whether there would be some leeway in the ordinance for dog owners found to be in violation of it but are making an effort to address the issue, and Henderson felt that enforcement could be left up to the animal control officer’s discretion.
“I’m not out to prosecute people,” Logsdon said. “I’m trying to change behaviors so we can all live peacefully together.”
In other business:
Henderson said county officials anticipate the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in Grayson County for frontline workers next week.