Steve Ariens loves walking his dog. But he said the walks aren’t as enjoyable as they used to be.

Ariens said he is now forced to carry a 9-millimeter pistol with him in fear that he, and his dog, will be attacked by wolf-dog hybrids he says are running loose in his neighborhood.

Ariens is not alone. Several residents also expressed fear and concerns at Tuesday’s Floyd County Commissioner’s meeting. They were there to ask the commissioners to pass an ordinance banning or restricting animals such as wolf-dog hybrids they consider dangerous.

“If these dogs get in my yard, you won’t need an ordinance,” Ariens said.

However, an ordinance may soon be put on the books.

Floyd County attorney Steve Lohmeyer hopes to have the ordinance ready for vote at the Jan. 16 commissioner’s meeting. Before the vote, however, Lohmeyer said he would like to host one or two public meetings to get feedback on the ordinance.

He got plenty of feedback Tuesday night.

Sharon Allen came to the commissioners earlier this month and pleaded with them to pass such an ordinance. Allen — whose neighbor Steve Lark breeds and raises wolf-dog hybrids — contends one of his dogs killed her family’s pet and that he is selling the dogs illegally. She said many residents along Alonzo Smith Road and in the Georgetown area are afraid to walk outside without taking some kind of weapon with them. Allen said Lark is not capable of keeping his wolf dogs properly contained.

She said in the last two weeks, the hybrids have been in her driveway and on her front porch. She said her husband had to kick one of the dogs off of the family’s golden retriever.

“The residents are vulnerable to these animals. We need some kind of measure to protect us,” Allen said. “We are just asking for some kind of help. Honestly, we don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel with this ... we don’t have a lot of hope.”

Lark — who is at the center of the controversy — would also like to see some sort of ordinance. He said he is tired of being harassed.

“I am in the process of cutting the pack down (which was at 22 earlier this month),” he said. “We have had a lot of problems over this.”

Lohmeyer said the ordinance would protect residents, as well as animals. He said animals not properly cared for, or ones which get loose, would be seized and their owners fined. He said if that owner has other dogs, those animals would also be taken.

He said owners would likely have to pay a permit fee. However, the price has not yet been set.

“I’m tired of fighting over this. If this ordinance will stop it, I fully support it,” Lark said.

Reed Striegel with the Floyd County Health Department said a Floyd County man was bitten by a hybrid recently, but the bite didn’t break the skin.

Lohmeyer said there are many dog owners in Floyd County who are not in favor of an ordinance. He said that is why it’s important to have public hearings on the proposed document.

In other action last night:

• The commissioners approved sheriff-elect Darrell Mills’ salary for 2007 at $94,000, which is the same as current sheriff Randy Hubbard’s salary.

• Dr. Tom Harris was appointed Floyd County health officer. His term will run through 2011.

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