The city of Havre’s recent discussions about the laws concerning vicious animals have turned out to be impeccably timed.
The Nov. 8 Ordinance Committee meeting on the subject was followed by discussions between Havre’s Animal Control Officer Gordon Inabnit and City Judge Margaret Hencz about what could be done to strengthen the enforcement of the existing law rather than composing a new one.
Less than two weeks later, the new procedure was put to the test.
On Nov. 18, Inabnit was called when two pit bulls were running around a Havre neighborhood. Although Inabnit said then that the dogs did not break any person’s skin, they had attacked another dog and injured it.
That weekend Inabnit held the animals in the animal shelter, until Hencz could hear the plea of the animal’s owner, Dalton Sunchild.
According to Hencz, the owner pleaded not guilty Dec. 1 to the vicious animal charges. Then Hencz ruled that both animals would be banned from within the city of Havre until the trial, and that Sunchild would have to prove within five days that the dogs had rabies shots.
Sunchild provided the requested rabies vaccine documentation and had his animals returned, to be taken out of Havre.
Hencz said this week that Sunchild’s omnibus hearing on Jan. 5 will set the trial date, to determine the long-term fate of the animals.
While the concerned residents that first raised the issue to the city council at their Oct. 17 meeting will be watching to see how the trial turns out, a few of their suggestions have already been implemented.
Geraldine Laux started the discussion in October after having trouble with her neighbor’s dogs a few times and was unimpressed with the city’s response.