A woman walks her dog near Brookhaven, where an alleged attack by an unattended dog may lead to a tougher leash law within the city limits of Langley. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

A woman walks her dog near Brookhaven, where an alleged attack by an unattended dog may lead to a tougher leash law within the city limits of Langley. (Photo by Patricia Guthrie/Whidbey News Group)

Langley leash law may get more teeth

Dogs will be required to be on a leash in Langley at all times under a new ordinance being considered by the Langley City Council.

Monday night, the tougher leash law passed its first reading after being discussed at a previous meeting. The final vote is expected to take place March 18.

The stricter ordinance would replace current regulation, which allows dogs to be “under control of a competent person” within the city limits and only specifically requires a leash in the business district, any public park or on the grounds of a school or church.

Being “under control of a competent person” meant dogs could be physically unrestrained but be “accompanied by and at heel beside, or controlled within ten feet of the owner or a competent, responsible person.”

The new law would require all dogs be restrained by a proper leash within the city limits of Langley.

The city council discussed toughening the law after receiving a written complaint from resident Steve Trembley. He described being bitten by a Brookhaven resident’s dog on Nov. 27 after it had been let out by its owner to do its “business.”

Trembley wrote that the neighbor’s 50-pound dog had been harassing his small dog for more than three years and it had previously bitten four children and one adult.

“Instead of letting it attack and likely kill my 14-pound dachshund,” he said, “…I picked up my dog with only a moment to spare. It re-directed and bit me in the right calf.”

When police were told of the attack, Trembley said, the owner denied the incident.

Trembley also said he had previously warned the Island County Housing Authority about the dog’s aggressive behaviour but the complaint fell on “deaf ears.”

He asked the city toughen its leash law and put some “teeth” into the ordinance to end the teeth marks appearing on pets and people.

“Voice command is not a sufficient deterrent nor means of controlling potentially vicious/aggressive dogs,” Trembley wrote.

Langley Mayor Tim Callison commented that toughening the leash law had been considered by previous administrations.

Under current law, dogs found to be running at large may be seized and impounded by any police officer or city animal control officer and owners can be fined.

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