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OH: Wooster: Dog law takes effect May 22

Discussion in 'Dog Ordinances & Laws' started by Vicki, May 6, 2012.

  1. Vicki

    Vicki Administrator Administrator

    Dog law takes effect May 22

    By BOBBY WARREN

    Staff Writer

    WOOSTER -- A lot of government entities will be involved when the state's new vicious dog law goes into effect May 22, but right now, there is no one who is the "designated driver," Wayne County's auditor said Friday.

    Auditor Jarra Underwood gave her assessment at a meeting of the Northeast Ohio Auditors Association at T.J.'s, and it followed a thorough overview of the law by Wayne County Prosecutor Dan Lutz.

    The new law establishes penalties for animals identified as nuisance, dangerous or vicious dogs. The language simplified the definition of a vicious dog, but it also added the category of a nuisance dog. Pit bulls were removed from the state's definition of dangerous and vicious dogs.

    -- The "Nuisance" dog classification will be for canines that have chased or attempted to bite people without provocation while off of their owners' premises.

    -- The "Dangerous" dog category covers those that have had multiple nuisance violations, or have injured people or have killed another dog without provocation while away from their owners' premises.

    -- The "Vicious" dog classification will be for dogs that have killed or caused serious injury to a person without provocation while away from their owners' premises.

    Owners of dogs in all three classifications would face certain requirements for the handling of their pets, with criminal penalties for failing to do so. There also would be ownership restrictions for convicted felons: They cannot live in a house with dogs that are not spayed or neutered for three years after being released from incarceration, Lutz said.

    Owners of dogs who receive three citations will be required to pay a $50 fee, on top of the normal dog license fees, for a special tag that would have to be worn by the animals.

    Some exceptions to the law are police dogs who are doing official duties, dogs that are hunting or being trained for hunting purposes and dogs that bite or attack someone trespassing.

    If a vicious dog, not ordered destroyed by the courts, is given or sold to another person, then the one receiving the animal must be notified the dog has been classified as vicious.

    Within 10 days of the transfer of ownership of a dangerous dog, the one receiving the dog must be notified of the dog's classification, as does the board of health and the dog warden in the county where the dog will reside, Lutz said. The notifications are mandatory, and there are criminal penalties for failing to do so.

    Dangerous dogs will need to be in a locked pen with a top or in a yard with a locked fence. Off premises, they will need to be on a chain-link leash or a tether not longer than six feet.

    County auditors will be responsible for dangerous dog registrations, collecting the $50 fee, and the dog owners will have to show proof of a rabies vaccination, proof that the dog has been spayed or neutered, proof the dog is embedded with a microchip and ensure the dog wears a special dangerous dog tag.

    Dog wardens will have to be notified immediately by the owners if a dangerous dog is loose or unconfined, if the dog bites a person and if the dog attacks another animal while off premises.

    The law also stipulates vicious or dangerous dogs cannot be debarked. It will be illegal to possess a debarked vicious or dangerous dog in the state, Lutz said.

    Law enforcement will be involved because officers can designate a dog is a nuisance. However, the officers will have to show clear and convincing proof in court.

    The owner, keeper or harborer of a dog that has been declared a nuisance by law enforcement officers can dispute the designation.

    Stuart Mykrantz, executive director of the Wayne County Humane Society, said Lutz did a good job of explaining the law.

    Mykrantz is in the process of developing a matrix of how the law will be implemented.

    Once the matrix is complete, Underwood said she will forward it to the other auditors.

    County health departments, law enforcement agencies, dog wardens, courts and auditors will be involved with the new law, but there has been no designated driver, Underwood said. She urged the auditors to reach out to the other departments to make sure implementation flows properly.

    The-Daily-Record.com - Dog law takes effect May 22
     

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