Letters to the Editor 4/4/2013

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Community needs headway with loose dogs
Editor:
I think it is important for readers to get a follow-up of my late February letter, which reported my being attacked by loose dogs and bitten by one.
The owner of the dogs was cited and pleaded “no contest,” thus avoiding having to face a judge and myself, since I showed up at the appointed day. She paid a $99 fine for the loose dogs and was given a $30 fine for the dog that bit me. This was suspended for 30 days; if she keeps the dogs under control, she pays nothing. This does not seem fair to me and other citizens of Socorro.
This dog bite required a trip to the emergency room (since we have no medical services in Socorro that I know of available on weekends), which cost over $1,000, plus the cost of antibiotic. A year ago when I was bitten in the county it was also a weekend. I did not go to the ER, thinking I could treat the wound myself; I was delayed in starting the antibiotics. It got very infected and took a long time to heal. I did not want a repeat of that situation.
It is also disturbing since I have found out that of her four dogs, only two were current with shots. She should have also been cited for this violation at the time I was bitten, but the officer took her word that she was current on shots for all the dogs. I do not know if he looked at any paperwork.
Finally, I am disturbed as a resident of this city and county where the fine for loose dogs, which is not enforced often, is more than that for having a dog that bites a bicyclist. My story is not unique.
If officers regularly cited the owners of the loose dogs running around we might make some headway on this problem, which affects so many of us who walk, run and bike though town. Illegally parked cars are ticketed, drivers who run stop signs get tickets, why not dogs that are loose and that bite?
This problem can be solved if those of us who want to take advantage of warmer weather to walk, run and bike report all loose dogs, and if officers routinely ticket the owners.
Catharine Stewart-Roache
Socorro