By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Marc Burrell is fed up with dogs charging through electric invisible fences and attacking his pit bull.
The city is considering his request to tighten an ordinance governing how dogs should be confined.
“Twice I have been walking my dog and I have had dogs coming off their property, come across the street and attack me and my dog,” he told the City Council.
An invisible fence system utilizes an underground wire that can activate a device on a dog’s collar. The device beeps when the animal approaches the wire and delivers an electric shock when the dog gets too close.
Most dogs learn to stay away from the barrier, but the system isn't foolproof.
Burrell found out the hard way that some dogs are willing to take the shock and continue on their way, particularly if they are agitated and going after another dog.
“The dog that attacked us had a shock collar on it and broke through the invisible fence,” he said. “When I went back afterward and spoke to the owners, they said the dog does it constantly. Once the dog gets excited it just ignores the shock of the fence.”
A city code says it is unlawful to intentionally permit any dog to run at large. The animal must be kept on a leash or in an enclosure when not on the property of the owner.
Burrell wants to see wording added that would require an owner to be outside and in control of the dog if it is not fastened to the property or behind a real fence.
The issue has been referred to the city's Government Operations and Ordinances Committee.
City Councilor Ava Doyle, who sits on the committee, said there's another problem with invisible fences.
“One of the reasons I never went with an electric collar for my dog, is that if they go after something and they go through the fence, they're not going to come back,” she said. “They calm down, but they'll get a shock if they try to come back to their own yard.”
City Manager Scott Myers said he understands Burrell's concerns and will examine if city dog laws need a tweak.
“He's looking to protect himself, or his dog, from dogs coming off their property,” he said. “We'll certainly look at it and the legalities and see if there are alternatives.”
Burrell said his 9-year-old dog, Titan, is friendly with people, but will fight if another dog charges him.
“He's a pit bull, so automatically he's going to be at fault for anything that happens,” Burrell said. “If people can't control their dogs on their own property, if they are coming out on the street, where am I supposed to walk my dog? Am I supposed to keep him at home and not take him out?”