Locals claim dogs terrorizing neighborhood

Locals claim dogs terrorizing neighborhood
By: Arnold Wyrick
Jackson County, IL - Living in the country can have it's advantages, and disadvantages.  For some folks in one Southern Illinois county they're finding out about the disadvantages, in the way of four legged creatures roaming their neighborhood.
"As of last night my neighbor over here Andrea Schneider went out to get her cat, and one of the dogs chased after her," says Joe Dzeima.
The dogs Joe speaks of roam the streets and yards in a rural area of Jackson County known as Sandridge.  The community is an unincorporated area of the county, so there is no leash law.
"My step-daughter she's in a wheelchair, she can't come outside and do anything.  We're afraid that the dogs will come over here after her," Dzeima said.
It's not only the kids having problems out in the county with dogs running loose.  Workers with Heartland Waste Management have their own stories to tell of run ins with dogs.
"Sometimes when you get out dogs meet you.  I've been attacked by a few myself," says Terry Pritchett.
"And it kind of makes you afraid to get out of the truck, if somebody's Rottweiler, or Doberman, or German Shepherd is going to get you down.  And really hurt you and put you in the hospital."
The Animal Control officer for Jackson County Lloyd Nelson says he can do something about the dogs, but only after people have taken the necessary steps to report the problems.
"I can fine, and or ticket the owners of the animal once they've been identified.  And once there has been three complaints filed against the animal with our office.  We really want the people in the rural areas to try and work this problem out among themselves.  But if that can't be done, then we will take action in the situation," Nelson said.
Other areas of the county like Gorham, a town of only 300 residents have their own leash laws.  And they're strictly enforced.
"Dogs can be dangerous, little ones can get bite, people can get bite.  We had a lady a little while back, her dog as attacked in it's yard by a Rottweiler.  I made the people pay for the injuries to the lady's dog," says Officer Don Raynolds of the Gorham Police Department.
"One of our biggest problems down here is that people come driving down here, and see all the houses and they'll just dump their animals off on the side of the road, and then take off.  We have to pick them up, and we have no place for them.  So we then have to find a home for them.  Or send them off a shelter somewhere," Officer Raynolds said.
The only other choice for people living out in rural areas of the county to get any enforcement for dogs to be caged, or restrained, would be for the residents in the area to request the county board to recognize their area to be zoned.  Then an ordinance could be drawn up and enforced in that zoned area.