Section 66-8 DANGEROUS DOGS AND
1. A “dangerous dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed which has bitten, attacked, or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal, other than a dog, or killed a companion animal.
2. A “vicious dog” means a canine or canine crossbreed which has (i) killed a person; (ii) inflicted serious injury to a person, including multiple bites, serious disfigurement, serious impairment of health, or serious impairment of a bodily function; or (iii) continued to exhibit the behavior which resulted in a previous finding by a court that is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.
3. Notwithstanding the definitions above, no canine or canine crossbreed shall be found to be a dangerous dog or vicious dog solely because it is a particular breed, nor shall the local governing body prohibit the ownership of a particular breed of canine or canine crossbreed. No animal shall be found to be a dangerous dog or vicious dog if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who was (i) committing, at the time, a crime upon the premises occupied by the animal’s owner or custodian, (ii) committing, at the time, a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the animal’s owner or custodian or (iii) provoking, tormenting, or physically abusing the animal, or can be shown to have repeatedly provoked, tormented, abused, or assaulted the animal at other times. No police dog which was engaged in the performance of its duties as such at the time of the acts complained of shall be found to be a dangerous dog or a vicious dog. No animal which, at the time of the acts complained of, was responding to pain or injury, or was protecting itself, its kennel, its offspring, or its owner or owner’s property, shall be found to be a dangerous dog or a vicious dog.
B. Procedures for Determining a Dog to be Dangerous or Vicious
1. Any Animal Control Officer who has reason to believe that a canine or canine crossbreed within his jurisdiction is a dangerous dog or vicious dog shall apply to a magistrate of the jurisdiction for the issuance of a summons requiring the owner or custodian, if known, to appear before a General District Court at a specified time. The summons shall advise the owner of the nature of the proceedings and the matters at issue. The Animal Control Officer or owner shall securely confine the animal in a humane matter until such time as evidence shall be heard and a verdict rendered. The court, through its contempt powers, may compel the owner, custodian or harborer of the animal to produce the animal.
2. In addition to Paragraph 1, Subsection B of this Section 66-8, an Animal Control Officer may determine, after investigation, whether a dog is a dangerous dog. If the Animal Control Officer determines that a dog is a dangerous dog, he may order the animal’s owner to comply with the provisions of the ordinance. If the animals owner disagrees with the Animal Control Officer’s determination, he may appeal the determination to the General District Court for a trial on the merits.
C. Disposition of Dangerous or Vicious Dogs
1. Vicious Dog – If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a vicious dog, the court shall order the animal euthanized in accordance with the provisions of Section 3.1-796.119
2. Dangerous Dog –
a. If, after hearing the evidence, the court finds that the animal is a dangerous dog, the court shall order the animal’s owner to comply with the provisions of the ordinance.
b. The owner of any animal found to be a dangerous dog shall, within ten days of such finding, obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the local Animal Control Officer for a fee of fifty dollars in addition to other fees that may be authorized by law. (i) All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons eighteen years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence that the animal has been neutered or spayed. (ii) All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to persons who present satisfactory evidence that the owner has liability insurance coverage, to the value of a least $50,000.00 that covers animal bites. The insurance policy shall contain a provision requiring that the Town be named as an additional insured party and that the Town shall be notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination, or expiration of the policy. The local Animal Control Officer shall also provide the owner with a uniformly designed tag which identifies the animal as a dangerous dog. The owner shall affix the tag to the animal’s collar and ensure that the animal wears the collar and tag at all times. All certificates obtained pursuant to this paragraph shall be renewed annually for the same fee and in the same manner as the initial certificate was obtained.
c. All certificates or renewals thereof required to be obtained under this section shall only be issued to person eighteen years of age or older who present satisfactory evidence (i) of the animal’s current rabies vaccination, if applicable, and (ii) that the animal is and will be confined in a proper enclosure or is and will be confined inside the owner’s residence or is and will be muzzled and confined in the owner’s fenced-in yard until the proper enclosure is constructed. In addition, owners who apply for certificates or renewals thereof under this section shall not be issued a certificate or renewal thereof unless they present satisfactory evidence that (i) their residence is and will continue to be posted with clearly visible signs warning both minors and adults of the presence of a dangerous dog on the property and (ii) the animal has been permanently indentified by means of a tattoo on the inside thigh or by electronic implantation.
d. While on the property of its owner, an animal found to be a dangerous dog shall be confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked structure of sufficient height and design to prevent its escape or direct contact with or entry by minors, adults, or other animals. The structure shall be designed to provide the animal with shelter from the elements of nature. When off its owner’s property, an animal found to be a dangerous dog shall be kept on a leash and muzzled in such a manner as not to cause injury to the animal or interfere with the animal’s vision or respiration, but so as to prevent it from biting a person or another animal.
e. If the owner of an animal found to be a dangerous dog is a minor, the custodial parent or legal guardian shall be responsible for complying with all requirements of this section.
f. After an animal has been found to be a dangerous dog, the animal’s owner shall immediately, upon learning of same, notify the local Animal Control Authority if the animal (i) is loose or unconfined; (ii) bites a person or attacks another animal; (iii) is sold, given away, or dies; or (iv) has been moved to a different address. If the dangerous dog is sold, given away, or has been moved to a different address, the previous owner will provide local Animal Control Authorities with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner, who must also comply with the requirements of this ordinance.
g. The owner of any animal which has been found to be a dangerous dog who willfully fails to comply with the requirements of the ordinance shall be guilty of a Class I misdemeanor.
D. Fees; Training
All fees collected pursuant to the ordinance, less the costs incurred by the Animal Control Authority in producing and distributing the certificates and tags required by the ordinance, shall be paid into a special dedicated fund in the treasury of the locality for the purpose of paying the expense of any training course required under Section 3.1-796.105.
(Ord. No. 15-99 Amended Entire Section 8-23-99-Effective Upon Passage)