As with gun control, the issue of "dog control" isn't over whether there should be laws, but about just how strict those laws should be.
And given the spate of dog bite victims in recent months (200 per year), Sandy has decided it's probably time to ratchet the dog restrictions up a notch and put some breed-specific rules on the books.
And though the breed proposals are bound to anger some dog purists, they are at heart sensible and well-considered.
Sandy would put dogs in three categories: prohibited (wolves, coyotes, dingos), restricted (pit bulls and Rottweilers) and dangerous (any dog with a history of violence). Those who own restricted dogs would have to buy insurance and build escape-proof kennels that can pass inspection. Dangerous dogs would be muzzled and kept on a short leash.
Besides bringing a little peace of mind to citizens, the new laws will cut down on liability problems and force people to be responsible owners. Of course, some of the old gun arguments will likely be trotted out (if they outlaw dogs, only outlaws will have dogs), but the Sandy City Council has obviously put some thought into the plan and shown sensitivity and feeling for not only dogs but their owners.
Some will hate to see the breed of their own dog on a black list. But the incidents of injuries are not just anecdotal. Studies have shown that 65 percent of dog-related fatalities in the nation involve pit bulls, Rottweilers, Presa Canarios and their mixes. Still, people should keep in mind that any dog with a penchant for mayhem can be dangerous from poodles to Pomeranians.
At the moment, Provo is also clamping down on bad dogs. Other Utah cities are following suit.
The days when dogs could run where they wished already have faded. And social mores have curbed the behavior of some people who simply refuse to curb their dogs. Now, public safety demands that a few more restrictions be put in place to keep the streets and neighborhoods free of fear.
Dogs even fighting breeds may be man's best friend, but too many dogs have become some family's worst nightmare.