Because of the increased calls Terry Stuart has been getting concerning mean dogs in the city of Russellville, the code enforcement officer has pulled the city’s vicious dog ordinance and is planning on beefing up enforcement.
The city of Russellville placed the vicious dog laws on the books in 2006 due to the amount of pit bulls that were appearing around town and were unleashed and unruly. A pit bull is considered a dangerous breed of dog according to a study conducted by the American veterinary Medical Association, the CDC and the Humane Society of the United States. Other dogs considered more dangerous and aggressive and are considerably stronger and larger that a person of average size include Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Presa Canarios, Boxers, and Dalmatians.
All dogs can be potentially dangerous, however, some dogs are more dangerous than others, according tot he study.
Because of this, the City of Russellville’s vicious dog ordinance sets forth strict regulations for those who choose to own such a breed in the city limits.
“I am not against dogs,” said Stuart. “In fact, I’m a dog lover. This ordinance is not on the books to make it difficult for people to own pets, but to protect the health and safety of the citizens of the City of Russellville,” added Stuart.
Some of the regulations are as follows:
A vicious dog shall be registered. Registration, photographs and proof of vaccination shall be required of all who own such a breed of viscous dog. Every owner of a vicious dog in the city hall annually register the animal with the Code Enforcement Officer. This registration shall state the name, address and telephone number of the person possessing the animal, the address where the animal is harbored, if different from the possessor’s address.
They must completely identify the animal, including genus and species, his or her common name, gender, color, and other distinguishing physical characteristics, including size and weight. An owner of a viscous dog shall submit two color photographs showing the color and approximate size of the animal with the registration and obtain from the city a viscous dog license.
At the time the dog is registered, a tag shall be issued to the owner of the vicious dog. The tag shall be worn at all times by he dog to clearly and easily identify it as a viscous dog.
Proof shall be provided that the animal has been spayed or neutered and an owner of a viscous dog must produce evidence that he or she has the ability to respond in damages up to and including the amount of $300,000 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property that may result from the ownership, keeping, or maintenance of such animal. Proof of financial responsibility may be in the form of a certificate of insurance, or in the form of a surety bond conditioned upon the payment of such damages. If such insurance or surety bond is changed, altered, or terminated after registration of the viscous dog, the owner of such animal shall provide evidence ton the city of insurance or surety bond complying with the terms of this prevision.
Every owner of a vicious dog in the city is required to report the following information in writing to an animal control officer:
* The removal from the city or death of the animal
* The birth of offspring of the animal
* The new address of the animal if it is relocated within the corporate city limits
* When the animal is running at large, has been stolen, or has attacked a person or another animal
It shall be unlawful for any owner of a viscous dog in the city to fail to comply with eh requirements and conditions set forth in the ordinance. A vicious dog found to be in violation of the ordinance shall be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. In addition, failure to comply with the ordinance will result in the automatic revocation of the licence of such animal.
There is also a manner of keeping the vicious dogs underlined in the ordinance. No person shall keep or maintain any dog or other animal in the city in such a manner so as to become a public nuisance or to disturb the peace. The keeping of all animals within the city shall be subject to all pertinent regulations of the state and Logan County Health Department.
Vicious dogs are to be properly confined or leashed. When a vicious dog is indoors, secure all means of egress so that the dog may not exit. No person shall permit a vicious dog to go outside of its kennel, pen, or owner’s property unless such animal is securely restrained with a leash or lead no longer than three feet in length and a leash or lead is physically controlled by a person 18 years of age or older who is in physical control of the leash. Such animals may not be leashed to inanimate objects such as trees, posts, buildings, etc. In addition, all such animals on a leash or lead outside of the animal’s kennel, pen, or the owner’s residence must be muzzled by a muzzling devise sufficient to prevent the animal from biting persons or other animals.
It is prohibited to exclusively restrain a dog or puppy by a fixed-point chain or tether without adequate food and water.
All vicious dogs shall be securely confined indoors or in a securely enclosed and locked pen or kennel, except when leased and muzzled, as provided in Section IV(B)(2). Such pen, kennel, or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to its sides. A fenced-in yard by itself is insufficient to meet this standard. All structures used to confine such animals must be locked with a key or combination lock when such animals are within the structure. Such structure must have a secure bottom or floor attached to the sides of the pen, or the sides of the pen must be embedded in the ground to a depth of no less than two feet. All structures erected to house such animals must comply with all zoning and building regulations, and all such structures must be adequately lighted, ventilated, and be of appropriate size to allow the animal confined therein to move around, and must be kept in a clean and sanitary condition. The house or shelter for said animal shall be totally enclosed within the confinement structure. When being transported, the animal must be muzzled or caged.
All owners of viscous dogs shall display on the kennel or pen and also in a prominent place on the premises, a sign easily read by the public from adjoining public roads or streets using a sign stating the presence of a vicious dog by both symbol and words.
All owners of vicious dogs shall allow animal control officers and enforcement agents the freedom to inspect the area as necessary to assure that the health and safety needs of the animals and the public ate being met.