On the February 22nd City Council Meeting the Centralia City Council will be deciding whether or not to adopt an ordinance restricting dogs from "running at large" within City limits and deeming such dogs as "dangerous dogs". The ordinance seeks to strengthen the language in the municipal code in terms of what powers are given to the City to address dangerous animals. The proposal of the ordinance was partly spurred from concerns from the City's Animal Control Officer, Bobby Patton, regarding a disproportionate responsibility to report an interaction with a dangerous animal being left to the victim or witness of an attack or interaction. As a result of a reluctance to report or follow through with filing these charges, many of these cases do not provide Mr. Patton and City's Attorney, Mark Stedelin, with enough evidence to create a punitive environment that prevents such attacks or interactions from happening again. In addition, both Mr. Patton and Mr. Stedelin are concerned that the language prohibits a more immediate response to the situation, therefore giving the opportunity for the animal to harm someone else if not taken for impoundment.
The new ordinance regarding Running at Large: Dangerous Dogs proposes the following,
Section 5-58. Running at Large; Dangerous Dogs.
(1) “Running at Large” is defined as any dog when not on a leash, not on the premises of its owner, or not under the complete control or its owner.
(2) “Dangerous Dog” is defined as any dog with propensity or tendency to do any act, which might endanger the safety of any person. Any dog that has bitten a person is presumed dangerous.
(b) No dog shall be permitted to run at large within the City.
(c) Any dog running at large is deemed to be a public nuisance, and may be impounded by the City if found running at large.
(d) Any dangerous dog is deemed a public nuisance, and shall be impounded if found running at large.
(e) Any dangerous dog impounded by City shall not be returned to the owner until: (1) said dog is spayed or neutered at owner’s expense; (2) the owner provides a valid certificate of insurance proving liability the dog; (3) the owner acquires or constructs an escape proof pen to hold said dogs. For purposes hereof, an “escape proof pen” shall consist of chain link or other metal fencing, with a concrete or wire flooring and wire cover, with a proper gate with a secure latch.
(f) Any dangerous dog not returned to its owner within fourteen days of its impoundment will be euthanized.
(g) Once determined dangerous, a dog shall thereafter be considered a dangerous dog for application of this ordinance.
(h) A dog previously determined to be a dangerous dog, if found running at large, shall be impounded and euthanized.
(i) The fine for allowing a dangerous dog to run at large shall be not less than $250.00 nor more than $750.00.
For more information visit the City's official website: www.cityofcentralia.org and refer to the February 22, 2010 City Council Agenda