I am writing to urge you to change the Montgomery County Code to require a leash for dogs after the dog's first incident of a bite, scratch, charge or any unwanted physical contact.

Montgomery County Code (sec. 5-203) states that an owner must not: allow a dog to be "at large," defined as "outside the premises of its owner and not leashed or otherwise restrained to prevent unwanted contact with a person or another animal." The phrase "or otherwise restrained" is not defined in the code, and thus does not provide clear direction to the community or the police department regarding adequate control of aggressive dogs.

Endangering the public even further, Montgomery County Code does not require a leash for dogs until the dog has been declared "DANGEROUS." Dogs are not declared dangerous until they have inflicted multiple bites or they have seriously injured (requiring stitches) or killed a person [MC Code 5-202 (a)(2)(A), (d) and MD Code Article 27, Section 70E, to which the MC Code refers].

I hope you will support a change to require a leash on aggressive dogs in our county. Our neighborhoods should not need to be repeatedly subjected to aggressive behavior before a leash is required.

Thank you for your support of this public safety issue.