The state laws covering what are considered dangerous and vicious dogs establish new standards for owners, says Andrew Snyder, the Wood County dog warden, who discussed the new law recently with the county commissioners.
Under the revised laws, which went into effect last month, if there is reasonable cause and a dog meets the definition, a dog warden or law enforcement officer will be required to designate a dog as a nuisance, dangerous, and/or vicious, said Snyder, adding all unprovoked dog bites will also result in the dog’s automatic designation as a dangerous or vicious dog.
Owners whose dogs have been designated one of the three classifications will be notified by the authorities and may request a hearing to contest the designation within 10 days.
If the designation of dangerous or vicious is upheld owners must:
• Post signs indicating the presence of a dangerous or vicious dog.
• Spay or neuter the dog and have a microchip for the animal.
• Have the dog vaccinated for rabies.
• Register the dog annually.
Snyder said the cost to register dangerous or vicious dogs with the county auditor is $50 a year. In addition, dogs must be licensed.
Stricter requirements for confining designated dogs are also covered by the law and anyone convicted of some felony offenses may be prohibited from owning a dangerous dog or one older than 12 weeks that hasn’t been spayed or neutered.
The new classifications focus on the behavior of dogs.
A nuisance dog is described in the law as one that without provocation and while off the premises of the owner has chased or approached someone in a menacing manner or has attempted to bite or endanger a person.
A dangerous dog is defined as one that without provocation has injured someone or killed another dog. Also, the dangerous designation will be applied to a dog if the owner has violated the section of state law requiring reasonable control of the dog three times.
A vicious dog is described as one that without provocation has killed or seriously injured someone.