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City To Crack Down On Problem Canines

OSWEGO, NY – The Port City is putting dog owners on notice.

Keep your canine on a leash – or face the consequences.

Judy Santore tells the council about encounters she has had with dangerous dogs. She is holding the metal handle of a snow brush that she now carries for protection.

Judy Santore tells the council about encounters she has had with dangerous dogs. She is holding the metal handle of a snow brush that she now carries for protection.

At Tuesday night’s Common Council meeting, Judy Santore told the aldermen about encounters she has had with dangerous canines.

In July 2007, she had to go to the emergency room after being bitten by a dog tat although was leashed was able to get to her.

“Had that dog not been on a leash and bitten eight inches higher, I might not be here tonight,” she said.

Earlier this year, she and her husband, Oswego County Legislator Paul Santore, were walking their small dog.

“A pit bull, on a leash, came rushing out of a house and attacked us. Luckily, my husband and I weren’t bitten. But, my small dog wasn’t so lucky,” she told the councilors. “We were trying to pick her up, but the pit bull was attached to her behind. The owner came out and apologized.”

The West Third Street resident admits she is uncomfortable walking around the ward.

She carries the metal handle of a snow brush everywhere she walks now.

“I have to take this with me anytime I go for a walk,” she said.

There are many people who take their dogs to Breitbeck Park or Montcalm Park and then take off the dog’s leash and let them run around, Santore said.

“I think we need to enforce the current laws,” she said.

Or, the law needs to be clearer, she said, asking if a dog is obedient to verbal commands, is it OK for it to be off leash?

Earlier this spring, Councilor Connie Cosemento (D-First Ward) had a sign installed at Montcalm Park stating: “Violators of leash law subject to arrest.”

“This is in concert with a huge problem we’re having in the First Ward,” she explained. “Montcalm Park is one of our historical parks; it’s encased by a Victorian fence. It is becoming a site for more and more people to conveniently bring their dogs to run loose.”

There are signs in the park that say all dogs must be on a lease and you have to pick up after them, the councilor added.

Some people have been chased and even bitten by dogs running loose in the park, she noted.

This sign at Montcalm Park proclaims all dogs must be on a leash at all times.

This sign at Montcalm Park proclaims all dogs must be on a leash at all times.

“Now people are not wanting to walk in that area to the lake,” she said. “That is not what Oswego is all about. So we really need to do something.”

The First Ward isn’t the only ward with dog problems, she pointed out.

No one knows how a dog is going to react in any given situation, she said, adding that she too has taken to walking with a stick to fend off unwanted canines.

“That’s why dogs should be kept on leashes, at all times,” Cosemento said.

Some dogs are tied out in front of their homes, on ropes that allow them to get to the sidewalk, she noted.

That can be very dangerous, she said, as a dog will defend its domain and may attack another dog or small child on the sidewalk that it perceives as a threat.

“I too walk with a ‘bite stick’ and have been chased by various dogs, especially pit bulls. It’s very frightening,” she said.

In one section of the ward, there have been a couple of cats killed by a pit bull, the councilor said.

“What I’m asking people to do is a neighborhood watch kind of reaction,” she said. “When you see a dog loose, call the animal control officer, that number is 343-1803.”

She also advises people to call the city police front desk (343-1212) so a police officer would also be alerted in case animal control needed help with a belligerent dog owner or a dodgy dog.

“Between the two of them, we’re going to start picking up these dogs and bring these people into court,” Cosemento said.

The police don’t pick up dogs, the police chief pointed out, but would respond to assist animal control.

“It’s a very serious situation that we have and people are complaining that they cannot walk through their own city, their own neighborhood,” Cosemento said. “So, we are going to be vigorous about addressing the dog problem.”

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