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Dogs, owners can spoil quality of life
I am writing in response to Non-scoopers, non-leashed are pet peeves (Pat Jenkins, Feb. 11). As respect to non-leashed dogs, my concern is a grave one. To add to your statistical data about the health risk caused by dog feces, you should also add the statistics about dog bites.
In recent information from the Journal of American Medical Association, it was stated that there were 4.7 million reported dog bites in the United States. Of those reported, 800,000 required medical attention, and of all dog bites, about 50 percent of them involve children. Therefore, dogs that are off-leash represent a threat to public safety. And, if you have ever seen a child who has been disfigured by a dog attack, you will know that dog bites by off-leash dogs should be our most important concern.
You mentioned about how our police should be more involved as respect to enforcing laws regarding dogs. At the present time, that is not their job. Federal Way contracts for its animal control services with King County Animal Control. Unfortunately, the problem with that is that there is only one animal control officer serving all of south King County.
You also mentioned the pollution created by dog poop, but what about the noise pollution caused by dogs barking in our neighborhoods? Right now, my family and 12 neighboring families have had their quality of life diminished by a neighbor who leaves his barking dog out for several days and nights at a time. Our neighborhood has been held hostage by the dogs constant barking, at all hours, for the last nine months. This is also a county animal control responsibility. Animal controls procedures to eliminate a barking dog problem are, however, overly repetitive and they require months of effort by those affected to resolve the problem.
Personally, I would like to have our City Council look into the issues created by irresponsible dog owners. I would also like to see our Police Department become more involved with enforcement of our dog-related laws.
But most importantly, I would like to see Federal Way citizens become more proactive. Quite frankly, it is our quality of life that is at stake. When we see a dog take a poop in a public place, and its owner does not pick it up, tell him or her they are affecting the public health of our community. The same goes for dog owners who let their dogs off leash. Remind them that no matter how loving an animal they believe they have, dogs do bite, and in a public place they endanger everybody around them.
We do not have to become a vigilante, but if we want to protect our communitys quality of life from those who would destroy it, we need to speak up and we need to accept our own civic responsibility.
Federal Way is a very special place to live. All of us should work to keep it that way.