Woman attacked by dogs in Harrison encouraging city council to pass vicious dog ordinance

HARRISON, Ark. - Abbie Thompson was attacked by three boxer mixes while walking in Maplewood Cemetery in Harrison just last week.

She spoke at a city council committee meeting Thursday night.

"I'm very thankful honestly to be alive," Thompson said. "Praise God for the one woman that was there that day that came to my rescue. But any time I think of someone this high, or an 85-year-old grandma that is visiting a grave, I don't know that they'd still be here today talking to you."

City council has been working on a vicious dog ordinance even before Thompson was attacked and discussed a rough draft at its committee meeting. Council members can make changes to it, and they emphasize that it is not breed-specific.

The potential ordinance defines a vicious or dangerous dog as "one that has exhibited fierce or vicious behavior toward a person or that has attacked a person or another domestic animal with such severity as to cause physical injury or property damage."However, any of the above described actions or behaviors should not be considered vicious if the dog was provoked or teased."

The draft goes on to list what the owner needs to do if the dogs is considered vicious or threatening, including having a sign that says "Beware of dog" on their premises, confining the dog indoors or in a kennel, and keeping the dog on a leash and muzzle while he's outside.

If city council eventually make this proposal law, owners who violate it would pay between a $250-1,000 fine.

Thompson said, "An ordinance would hold dog owners to the responsibilities that they should have. There is responsibility in what you own."

Under this proposed ordinance, if the owner violates it and a citation is issued, the animal will be kept at the animal shelter. The animal would only be released by an Order of the Court, and if the court finds that the animal is vicious, it could order the dog to be euthanized in a humane manner.

Thompson said to council members, "I just plead with you to do whatever it takes to move with this. Make necessary changes as quickly as possible. Nothing is going to change what happened to me. I understand that. But I sure hope my experience will help someone."

The earliest a vicious dog ordinance could be passed into law is at the next Harrison city council meeting in two weeks.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.