Rosemount police caution dog owners following biting reports

Rosemount police are asking the owners of pet dogs to be alert to safety risks following recent dog bite reports in the community.

Police have investigated three cases in the last two weeks of dogs that bit residents. In two cases, unleashed dogs injured people and another dog on public and private property. In the other case, a dog on private property was inadequately supervised and bit a person.

“Fortunately, none of the victims of these bites was seriously hurt,” said Rosemount police Chief Eric Werner. “But the attacks easily could have been worse, with serious consequences for the victim, the animal, and the pet owner.”

Rosemount’s animal ordinance requires dogs on public property to be under restraint, like a leash, at all times. The leash, including retractable leashes, can reach no more than 6 feet.

On private property including the owner’s yard or vehicle, dogs must be able to respond to the voice commands or signals of a competent person who is present.

Rosemount’s ordinance reflects the need to balance the benefits and risks of dog ownership.

According to an American Veterinary Medical Association task force, nationally, 53 million dogs live with their owners, providing valuable companionship and services.  But each year, 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, and about 800,000 require treatment. On an average day, dog bites send more than 1,000 people to the emergency room.

To lessen the risk of rabies, Rosemount requires licensing of dogs at a cost of $12 a year, with discounts for spayed or neutered animals and for owners older than 55. Licensing requires proof of rabies vaccination.

“Rosemount residents are instructed to call 9-1-1 if they have any problem with dogs or other animals,” Werner said.  “Our pets contribute to the quality of life in Rosemount.  We need pet owners to think about the safety of others as they enjoy their companionship with animals.”