August 23, 2011 10:52:00 AM
The contents of this article have been modified since its original posting.
A dog attacked a child Friday afternoon in Columbus, sending him to the hospital and prompting area law enforcement officials to take a closer look at the city''s leash laws and vicious-dog ordinance.
Interim Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen said at approximately 4:12 p.m., a 10-year-old was riding near the intersection of 13th Avenue and Fourth Street South when he was knocked from his bike by a dog described as a "pit-bull mix."
Witnesses told police that after the child fell to the ground, the dog continued to attack, "going for his face and neck." The dog fled back to its house when a bystander threw a 40-ounce beer at it.
Police cited dog owner LaTracy Williams, 30, of 1224 Fouth St. S., for having a nuisance dog, allowing the dog to run free and having no vaccination tag or identification for the animal. The dog was taken to the Columbus-Lowndes Humane Society for a 10-day observation hold.
The child was taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle, where he was treated for bite wounds and released.
McQueen said all dogs within the city limits are required to be confined to a house or pen and adhere to local leash laws. In addition, owners of pit bull and Rottweiler breeds -- whether kept inside or outside -- must register their dog with the Animal Control Office at the Columbus Police Department. By state law, all dogs must also have a rabies vaccination and tag.
The fines for failure to register a pit bull or Rottweiler are $10 for a first offense, $20 for a second offense and $40 for a third offense. The fines for having no proof of vaccination are $25 for a first offense, $50 for a second offense and $75 for a third offense.
He said while the department and its three animal control officers work hard to make sure the laws are enforced, he intends to start cracking down harder on dog owners who fail to comply.
"We are looking into these issues," McQueen said. "It would be a real smart thing for citizens to make sure dogs ... are in compliance."
Oktibbeha County is looking into creating a vicious-dog ordinance, following the Aug. 13 attack of two children by five pit bulls and last summer''s mauling of five cows.
Citizens are expected to attend a Sept. 5 meeting by the Oktibbeha County Board of Supervisors to request action.
Carmen K. Sisson is the former news editor at The Dispatch.
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