A Metro councilman says too many people in Nashville are being attacked by dogs allowed to run loose. Now, he's working on a plan to triple the fines for animal owners who violate the city's leash law.
"We have to get a handle on these dog bites, because people need to feel safe walking their kids," said Councilman Scott Davis.
Davis said four residents in his East Nashville district have been attacked in the past few months.
"It is starting to get serious. We had another one last week where a woman was walking and she was bitten by a stray pit bull," Davis said.
Although dogs running around are often called stray animals, officials say the truth is most of those dogs have owners who just let them run loose.
Right now, animal control officers can issue the pet owner a citation that results in a maximum $50 fine, but Davis would like to see that increased to $250.
"It may seem a little strict on my part, but I feel as a city and as a state we have to send a message," Davis said.
Any increase would likely require changing a state law, but before any bill comes up Davis is planning to host a series of community meetings to get neighbors' input.
Some already support increasing fines.
"It certainly couldn't hurt, $50 to some people is a drop in the bucket. If they did increase the fines and penalties, I think it would be great," said Billy Biggs, with Metro Animal Control.
Davis plans to have that first community meeting on Feb. 23.
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