Dog owners praise, criticize proposed Oklahoma City “menacing” dog ordinance

OKLAHOMA CITY - A call to action could see results that include steeper penalties and a closer watch over dogs that may be a threat.

Following a deadly incident in April when a woman and her dog were killed by two dogs running loose, council members are bringing a new ordinance to the table. Dog owners are already taking sides on the issue.

For parent and dog-owner Edward Hanson, the move is long overdue.

"If I see a big dog running around, I get kind of concerned about [my kids'] safety, especially if I don't know the dog," Hanson said.

If the ordinance passes, the owners of dogs caught running free would face more severe consequences, even possible jail-time.

"We are holding those owners of those dogs accountable for when they run free in the neighborhoods," said Ward 7 Councilman John Pettis.

If impounded, the dog would need to be spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. The owner would also have to pay a fee, all before it could be released.

Owners of "menacing" dogs, those that destroy property in an attempt to get at a human or a domestic animal, would require annual registration going forward.

Owners of menacing dogs would also be required to show proof of an enclosure sturdy enough to keep their pet from escaping.

The law would also step up penalties for owners of menacing dogs.

Dog-owner Rickey Backstrom said he agrees dogs shouldn't be allowed to run free, but he thinks the law goes too far.

"If he's nice, then they shouldn't have a reason to spay or neuter them, especially if they're not attacking anyone," Backstrom said.

But, Hanson insists the city can't take that chance.

"They make parents responsible for the kids, why not make pet owners responsible for their pets?" he said.