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Curbing violent dog attacks

MISHAWAKA, Ind. — Dog bites in the county are on the rise and the St. Joseph County Humane Society is looking at ways to curb dog attacks.

In the world of dog convictions the first group of offenders is nuisance dogs or those who are picked up by neighbors or the Humane Society less than three times.

The St. Joseph County Humane Society executive director said they are looking at cracking down on those dangerous dog laws and it may take more than a bite to deem a dog dangerous.

"We named them nuisance because they're out running about, scaring children, pooping in people's sandboxes, all those kinds of things that go on," said Carol Ecker.

One of those dogs is Prudence. She's fled the yard more than three times. And now she's deemed a dangerous.

"People assume the dog is dangerous because it's vicious and attacks, but that's not the case," said Ecker.

But it's not Prudence's fault. After all, she's just a dog.

Ecker says the answer to "who let the dogs out" is their irresponsible owners

"We're forcing them to take care of this dog, is what we're doing," she said.

And that means enforcing the rules with hefty penalties.

If a dog's loose more than three times, consequences can go into effect.

"It's a $100 license, they have to have insurance, they have to have 'beware of vicious dog’ signs, they have to have a six sided fence, they have walk the dog with a muzzle," said Ecker. "All these things which interrupt their lives and that's a good thing."

And it's to protect more than just the dog. It makes sure children don't become another dog bite statistic.

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