Dogs can be a source of comfort and companionship to their owners when they are trained well and acclimated to their environments. However, when dogs are not properly restrained, they can wreck havoc and even be dangerous to their owners and the community they live in.
Late this August, Missouri passed reformed dog laws. These laws are in affect for any area in Missouri that is not under city ordinances or where there is no county ordinance in place concerning violent dogs This includes much of rural Oregon County.
The new laws that most pertain to violent dogs running at large and causing damage are the following according to the Missouri General Assembly:
273.020. In every case where sheep or other domestic animals are killed or maimed by dogs, the owner of such animals may recover against the owner or keepers of such dog or dogs the full amount of damages and the owner shall forthwith kill such dog or dogs; and for every day he shall refuse or neglect to do so, after norice, he shall pay and forfeit the sum of $1, and it shall be lawful for any person to kill such dog or dogs; provided, however, that whenever in any case the facts shall show that in the worrying or killing, maiming or wounding of any said sheep or other domestic animals that the same was done by two or more dogs belonging to different owners, than the plaintiff, the person whose animals were killed, wounded or maimed, may at his or her election, join all of the owners of said dogs as joint tort-feasors or may sue each one separately at his or her election.
273.030. If any person shall discover any dog or dogs in the act of killing, wounding or chasing sheep in any portion of this state, or shall discover any dog or dogs under such circumstances as to satisfactorily show that such dog or dogs has or have been recently engaged in killing or chasing sheep or other domestic animal or animals, such person is authorized to immediately pursue and kill such dog or dogs; provided, however, that such dog or dogs shall not be killed in any enclosure belonging to or being in lawful possession of the owner of such dog or dogs.
273.036. 1. The owner or possessor of any dog that bites, without provocation, any person while such person is on public property, or lawfully on private property, including the property of the owner or possessor of the dog, is strictly liable for damages suffered by persons bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner's or possessor's knowledge of such viciousness. Owners and possessors of dogs shall also be strictly liable for any damage to property or livestock proximately caused by their dogs. If it is determined that the damaged party had fault in the incident, any damages owed by the owner or possessor of the biting dog shall be reduced by the same percentage that the damaged party's fault contributed to the incident. The provisions of this section shall not apply to dogs killing or maiming sheep or other domestic animals under section 273.020.
2. Any person who is held liable under the provisions of subsection one of this section shall pay a fine not exceeding $1,000. The remedies provided by this section are in addition to and cumulative with any other remedy provided by statute or common law.
According to Oregon County Sheriff George Underwood the county doesn't have much of a problem with viscous dogs. He said that when there is a problem with a dog between neighbors the sheriff's department tries to mediate between them to resolve the issue. "It's more of a civil issue," Underwood said.