County removes some teeth from dog law

In the first meeting of his new term, Hood River County Commission Chair Rodger Schock cast the tie-breaking vote to take the teeth out of a proposed dog leash law.

“I really wonder if we’re doing more harm here than good,” said Schock, who reiterated that animal owners bore the sole responsibility for controlling their pets.

Commissioners Carol York and Robert Hastings wanted to adopt in its entirety the draft animal control ordinance that was developed by an ad hoc committee during a series of meetings earlier this year. However, Les Perkins and Chuck Thomsen, who represent the less populated areas of the county, vetoed the idea after disagreeing that canines be leashed or kept “at heel” next to the owners leg during hikes and walks in outlying areas.

Schock was then called on to break the split decision and agreed that the leash law shouldn’t blanket the entire county.

After informing her peers that dog bites — an average of two to three per week — constituted a “huge” public safety issue, York was the sole dissenter in a subsequent motion to retain the former language that allows animals to roam unrestricted if they are in the company and under the voice command of the owner. Her suggestion that the $500 cap for victim restitution be lifted was included in the revised code to allow full reimbursement of all medical and veterinary bills resulting from a dog attack.

Even though the leash law was struck down, dog owners will face penalties for tethering their animals to objects outside of a store or coffee shop, currently a standard practice in downtown Hood River.

Under the new ordinance, wolves and wolf hybrids are prohibited and pet owners will be subject to penalties for not cleaning up feces left by their dog off its own premises. The court is also now allowed to require the defendant in an enforcement case to engage in mediation to resolve differences with the plaintiff.

Most of the other proposed changes were “housekeeping” to bring the county’s animal control ordinance into compliance with changes in state law. The updated dog laws will go into effect on May 1 to allow time for the county to educate citizens and visitors about the added restrictions.

The Animal Control Advisory Committee formed in early 2002 to update the dog laws passed in 1979. The group was comprised of law enforcement officials and community members.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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