This ordinance change applies to dogs found running at large. The ordinance allows for a dog to be administratively declared a nuisance if it is found by one of our Animal Control officers running at large twice or more in 12 months. It’s a 24-month registration period from the time of the declaration, and if there are no subsequent issues, the dog falls off that list.
A dog can be administratively declared restricted if it bites a person in an aggressive way or if an Animal Control Officer witnesses consistent aggressive behavior. There is also a mechanism for a neighbor to petition the court for a restricted dog declaration. This ordinance was an additional tool above and beyond our Vicious dog ordinance which required a court declaration and a high threshold of vicious tendencies on the part of the dog. The restricted dog declaration is also a 24-month registration period, with the same caveat that if a dog behaves for 24 months, it falls off of that list. In a vicious dog situation, the court orders the disposition of the situation—most often, euthanasia.
An additional piece of this ordinance is the Reckless Owner declaration. That gives us the authority to declare a person a reckless owner if three separate animal ordinance violations occur in a 24-month timeframe. This can also be the result of an animal cruelty investigation or if a person does not comply with the requirements of the nuisance, restricted or vicious dog ordinance. Being declared a reckless owner can result in a prohibition against pet ownership for 24 months.