J. D. Heyes
Millions of Americans have, for years, been aware of a growing police state mentality in the U.S. If you’re a dog owner in an Atlanta suburb you are especially aware of this because many of you just got singled out for, shall we say, special consideration.
According to local reports, officials in College Park – located in metro Atlanta – are set to enact a “dangerous dog” registry next month that will force owners of certain types of dogs will have to register them or face fines.
Owners of dogs who have bitten someone, without provocation, are required to comply – fair enough – but so, too, are pit bull, Doberman, Rottweiler and German shepherd owners, even if their dogs haven’t bitten or bothered anyone.
As is usually the case with a new regulation of this type there is a recurring fee – $25 annually – and punitive punishment for noncompliance. Anyone failing to subject their pets to this “dog profiling” scheme will be hit with fines and have their dog confiscated.
A few neighboring Georgia communities and counties have also adopted similar measures, though College Park is the first one to include more breeds beyond Pit Bulls.
Critics of the new rule say no public hearings were held before the decision to single out a few breeds is biased and hypocritical, according to the report. Some readers who responded to the story say that other breeds of dogs – just about all of them, in fact – could wind up biting someone, provoked or not, so why hold owners of certain breeds to a different standard?
Suburb officials say they are merely acting in the interest of public safety after an infant was mauled and injured by a Pit Bull in nearby Clayton county. Nobody wants to see that kind of thing happen, for sure, but aren’t all dog owners already held legally responsible for the behavior and actions of their pets? Why this extra layer of legalese and regulation? What good would a registry have done to protect that child? Are the fees going to be used to help protect the community from dog attacks? Are dog attacks so rampant the community needs to be protected from them?
Truth be told, this sounds like just another scheme imposed by yet another American community to extract more hard-earned money from residents already burdened and beleaguered with a host of expensive rules and fees, just for the “privilege” of living in the Land of the Free.
“To me this is a desperate attempt to get money,” Atlanta Underdog Initiative founder Ami Ciontos said. “If they really wanted to make a difference in public safety, they’d go after people who don’t take care of their dogs. Instead they’re trying to make a buck off of responsible dog owners.”