Owner Of Dogs That Attacked Boy Cited

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The owner of two dogs that mauled a 7-year-old Elkhorn boy has been ticketed.

Investigators say the rottweilers charged through an invisible electronic barrier near 218th and Daylily Circle Tuesday night and attacked the boy, who lives across the street and was walking near a wooded area. The boy was treated at Lakeside Hospital and released.

Tucker weighs around 110 pounds and Lucy around 90 pounds. The dogs' owner, 59-year-old Richard Willett was ticketed on several charges including improper restraint of a dog and menacing behavior.

Nebraska Humane Society investigators say Willett, who faces a $500 fine or six months in jail, has been cooperative. He signed the dogs over to the Humane Society, which will hold them for 10 days to make sure they don't have rabies. Because of the seriousness of the attack, both dogs will then be euthanized.

The Humane Society says an invisible electronic barrier is not a proper restraint and it causes a lot of problems. “We have too many situations where one of two things happen, the dog bursts through the fence and goes after people or the invisible fence doesn't keep other dogs from coming into that yard, and attacking the dog inside the yard,” says the Humane Society’s Mark Langan.

There are a variety of brands of electronic dog restraints. The dog will get an audible tone as they approach and they're going to get a correction like a static shock.

Many vendors say with professional installation and training and proper maintenance, it works just as well as a real one. “They're fit for every type of dog, but still take some work,” says Jon Simons, owner of Dogwatch Hidden Fence.

Simons says dogs are like children. “The first day of school they're a little bit more timid. By the end of the year they know what they can get away with, so sometimes settings have to be adjusted on the equipment as the dog progresses.”

Still, the Nebraska Humane Society recommends not using them, especially for aggressive dogs. Also, using them alone does not meet the Omaha restraint ordinance. “A lot of people think that is proper enclosure, but the problems that we have, it's not always a good idea to always have your dog inside an invisible fence,” says Langan.

If you do use an electronic underground dog fence, owners should periodically make sure the shock collar is snug. If it's too loose the dog won’t feel the shock when it comes too close to the buried wire.

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