The owner of a dog that had been the subject of neighborhood complaints told the Upshur County Commission he has taken steps to ensure the animal creates no further problems.
Dwayne Lipscomb said that when he takes the Doberman out for a walk, he will make sure the dog is properly secured on a leash. He also said he installed an electric fence to keep the dog on his property.
"He will bark at a stranger," Lipscomb said at a recent commission meeting. "I have never had the dog lunge at anybody, never had him bite anybody."
A group of neighbors previously complained that the dog, which weighs about 85 pounds and is still considered a puppy, often chases cars and growls at people. Some women told the commissioners they carry sticks and clubs with them when they retrieve their mail, fearing an encounter with the dog.
Upshur County Animal Control Officer Mike Miller said he reached an agreement with the Lipscombs about the handling of the dog, adding he does not believe the dog is vicious.
"He's just a puppy. He's a big dog," Miller said. "People get the wrong impression. I don't feel in my heart that the dog is actually vicious, but he could be harmful."
Miller said he didn't think the dog needed to be muzzled when it was out for a walk, but said it would not be a bad idea "just to take the fear away."
"People see different actions in different ways," he said. "I'm concerned about both sides. I don't want (Lipscomb) to be open to litigation, and I don't want (the neighbors) to be open to injuries."
Commissioner Buddy Brady urged Lipscomb to "just use some common sense" during times he or his family may be out with the dog.
"If the neighbors are out, especially the ones who have been complaining," Brady said, "just take a left."