Family Wants Tighter Leash on Strays

Family Wants Tighter Leash on Strays
By: Holly Brantley

SIKESTON, Mo. - Unfortunately stray animals seem to be a fact of life in many parts of the Heartland.  According to the Sheriff's Department, Scott County, like others, has no county ordinance for a leash law.
But one mom says that needs to change after her son had a run-in with a dog at the bus stop.
"I was coming over and yelled at him to get the dog out of the road," said 12-year-old Tyler Best. "Then he came over and bit me."
Tyler's mom, Rachel Patterson, says she took Tyler to the hospital and contacted authorities.
"The hospital called and said for us to contact the sheriff's department," said Patterson. "They said they could tell the guy he had to quarantine the dog but there was nothing they could do."
Patterson says while her son's wound will heal, rabies was her biggest fear.
Lanette Baker with the Humane Society says while the state of Missouri has penalties for dangerous dogs, those are tough to enforce in areas like Scott County where they have no leash ordinance.
"This county needs a leash law desperately," said Baker.
Baker feels that not having a leash ordinance made the situation tougher than it should have been.
"It's not fair that people have a dog running around and others have to worry about their child being bitten," said Baker.
The Scott County Sheriff's Department says if they can identify an owner, they can order a dog to be quarantined.  But, according to Patterson, health officials had to step in before the owner agreed to quarantine the dog for ten days to make sure it did not have rabies.
She says that created some frustrating and scary days they should not have had to go through.
In any case, the bottom line for Baker and Patterson, they say Scott County needs tougher dog ordinances.  They urge you to call county commissioners and ask for tougher restrictions.