Q: Hi Jason, Can you find out how many vicious dog attacks there have been in Sandusky so far this year? And what is done when a dog viciously attacks another dog? So many people walk their dogs in town and I've heard of innocent dogs being attacked and the owners just being ticketed for "dog at large." It seems nothing is being done, and I'm afraid to walk my dog in town anymore. Thanks. Renee on Monroe Street
A: Thank you for the question, Renee. According to Sgt. Braun of the Sandusky Police Department, there were 1318 animal complaints in 2009, and 48 times the police charged someone with "dog at large." Another 19 were charged with "vicious dog," and one dog was put down for repeat offenses.
So far in 2010, the police have had 361 animal complaints, and 23 times the police have charged someone with "dog at large." This year, the department hasn't charged anyone with "vicious dog."
Braun said someone may receive a "vicious dog" summons if their dog attacks another dog, or if it attacks a human. He said "vicious dog" is a more common offense during the summer, which is one reason they haven't charged anyone with that offense yet this year. "Dog at large" can garner a $120 fine, and "vicious dog" has a steeper fine. It can also lead to other repercussions, depending on the severity of the attack. Braun said the city used to have a specific legislation targeting pitbulls, but it repealed that ordinance several years ago.
Q: For a city with a declining population, wouldn't it make sense to reduce the number of our commissioners from seven to five? I think this would weed out some of the weaker commissioners. Tim on Central Avenue
A: I agree with you 100 percent, Tim. Because there are so many seats on the city commission, many of the commissioners "earn" their seats in unopposed races, or with very little competition. Reducing the number from seven to five commissioners would, in my opinion, lead to stronger commissioners who weren't gifted seats. Furthermore, with five competing ideas instead of seven, we can have shorter deliberations and move ahead more quickly on some of the projects. In a city of only 25,000 people, five commissioners is enough to ensure most viewpoints are represented.
This will be a hot topic in the coming months, because the city's review committee is contemplating making changes to Sandusky. Unfortunately, any recommendations they make must first be approved by the commission before going to the voters on the November ballot. And I'm not sure the commission would approve eliminating two of themselves, even if it would improve the city.
Q: Jason, I think completing the sidewalks along Cedar Point Drive and the "hotel strip" on Cleveland Road would be great for residents, the tourists, and even the Cedar Point employees who I see walking all summer long. Heck, you could walk to Cedar Point! Do you think the city could finish building those sidewalks? Kathy on W. Shoreway Dr.
A: Great question, Kathy. According to Kathy McKillips in the engineering department, the city should begin working on those sidewalks sometime later this month. As part of repaving that road, the city had to do some water main work, which delayed the project a few weeks. But everything should be complete by June, and you'll still have a couple months to walk to and from Cedar Point, which will give you extra time in the sunshine to dry off from riding Shoot the Rapids.
To ask Jason a question, send a letter to 314 W. Market St., or e-mail singer@ sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. "John from Decatur Street."