Posted: Oct 4, 2012 8:09 PM by Shannon Davis
Updated: Oct 5, 2012 8:48 AM
BUTTE - A 12-year-old girl spoke at the Butte-Silver Bow Council of Commissioners meeting Wednesday evening in response to a proposal that would require pet owners to pay all fees before a dog is released from Animal Control if they are involved in a dog biting.
The young girl, Trinity Berry of Butte, was moved to speak because of her recent experience with a dog in her neighborhood that bit and threated her.
"I would just like to say that it is not fun being bit in the back," Berry said when she spoke in front of the commissioners Wednesday evening.
The dog bit her in late August when she was trying to bring groceries inside. She suffered two puncture wounds in her lower back, deep enough that she needed medical attention. Following the incident Animal Control impounded the dog for four days, according to Mary Kay Craig, godmother and neighbor of Berry.
The ordinance classifies dangerous animal as, "any animal which constitutes a physical threat to human beings or domestic animals by virtue of a known propensity to endanger life by an unprovoked assault or bite so as to cause serious bodily harm." It also states that, "It is unlawful for any owner to keep, harbor, or maintain any dangerous animal at any time off the premises of the owner unless the animal is securely muzzled."
Three weeks after Berry was bit the dog was after her again.
"Barking and barking and jumping up against the thing and I thought it was going to jump out, because it was practically jumping halfway out the window, so I climbed on top of a truck," Berry said.
"She freezes whenever she hears him," Donna Berry said, her grandmother. "She's only 12 years old. She shouldn't have to live like that."
Ed Randall, director of Animal Services, said the proposal is very similar to the ordinances they already have in place, but it is an opportunity to make it more clear.
"Anytime we can clean up an ordinance I think we should," Randall said. "There are ways we can clean it up that make it more usable."
There were several citizens who expressed concern at the council meeting that the proposal may increase the number of dogs at the shelter, thus increasing euthanization. Randall said they will not make rash decisions if more dogs are placed in their facility.
The Berry family is expecting a phone call from the county attorney's office to try and get ahold of a record of the biting. They would like to know exactly what penalties the pet owner faced.