Genoa Council will address vicious dogs Feb. 18

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 5:30 a.m.CDT

GENOA – With all eight of Genoa’s aldermen in agreement, the rewrite of a city ordinance addressing vicious dogs will be presented for a first reading at the next City Council meeting Feb. 18.

“This ordinance comes straight out of state law,” said Genoa Police Chief Ty Lynch.

He explained that the proposed ordinance was the result of a dog bite case last summer, when a child’s cheek was seriously damaged by a dog she knew.

“Under that circumstance, there was a serious injury; that dog did not respond normally and I would have to call it a vicious dog,” Lynch said.

He said the proposed ordinance specifies what constitutes a vicious dog, and how it will be handled. It authorizes the mayor, or his or her appointee, to deem a dog vicious based on the animal’s behavior. If that determination is made, Lynch said, the owner is required to have the dog spayed or neutered and microchipped within 10 days of the determination. It also requires the dog to be muzzled anytime it is out in public.

Local law requires all dogs to be leashed on public property.

The ordinance also provides for ajudication to allow the dog’s owner to address specific dog-bite situations in the animal’s defense.

Before this proposal, Lynch said the city’s code contained only one sentence pertaining to vicious dogs. The 1978 addition to the code book authorized the city to euthanize the dog. None of the aldermen appeared comfortable with that authority.

“Can you pass this up the chain to [DeKalb County Animal Control] if the problem escalates?” asked 2nd Ward Alderman James Stevenson.

“It will be passed up the chain anyway because we’ll call the county in to assist,” Lynch responded. “I think it’s fair.”

Mayor Mark Vicary said he thought the ordinance was well crafted. The council will address the issue again with a first reading of the ordinance at its Feb. 18 meeting.

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