Police tell pitbull owner to get dog out of town - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Police tell pitbull owner to get dog out of town

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HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

The owner of a pitbull that forced the post office to suspend mail delivery to an entire city block has been told get his dog out of town, authorities say.

Hannibal Police Chief Lyndell Davis held a meeting Tuesday with dog owner, David Taylor, and residents of the 5000 block of College Ave in an effort to find a resolution to the issue.

(See "Dog stops delivery of mail in Hannibal neighborhood.")

Lt. John Zerbonia says new information was presented during the meeting that the Hannibal Police Department and animal control officers were not aware of before. Zerbonia said they were told that the dog allegedly chased elderly neighbors, other adults and children in addition to the mail carriers.

Because of those new details, Taylor was told he has 48 hours to find a new home for the dog outside of the city limits.

"Everyone in attendance agreed this was a fair compromise," Zerbonia said in a press release. "Hopefully (the compromise) will result in mail service being restored and keeping peace in the neighborhood."

If Taylor doesn't do what is requested, he will face penalties related to the city's Dangerous Dog Ordinance.

"In some recent interviews, the dogs owner has stated that the dog has not bitten anyone," Zerbonia said. "When you review the ordinance, you'll see that is not necessary for declaring a dog dangerous."

You can read the full section of the ordinance relating to dangerous dogs below:

Sec. 4-106. - Dangerous dogs.

(a)

Classification. Any dog with one or more of the following characteristics can be classified as a "dangerous dog" and shall serve as just cause for enforcement action:

(1)

Any dog with a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals; or

(2)

Any dog which has killed a domestic animal, livestock, or poultry without provocation, while off the owner's property; or

(3)

Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting; or

(4)

Any dog which has bitten or attacked a human being, without provocation, on public or private property; or

(5)

Any dog which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds, in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack, regardless of whether or not a person is injured by such dog.

(b)

Declaration of a dangerous dog. If the chief of police or his designee has cause [to] believe that a dog is dangerous, as established in subsection (a) of this section, the chief or designee may find and declare that the dog is dangerous and therefore subject to the terms and restrictions of this section.

(c)

Notice of declaration of a dangerous dog. After declaring a dog dangerous, the chief of police or designee shall notify the animal's owner in writing of the declaration. The notice shall identify the requirements and conditions for maintaining a dangerous dog set forth in this section. If the owner cannot be located, the animal may be immediately impounded and notice shall be posted on the owner's last known address.

(d)

Hearing and appeal. If the circumstances surrounding the declaration of a dangerous dog under any of the conditions listed in subsection (a) of this section are in dispute, then the owner or keeper of the dog has the option of submitting within five working days, a written request to the city manager for a hearing and possible appeal.

(1)

A hearing with the city manager shall be convened within ten working days after receipt of a bona fide written appeal.

(2)

Pending the outcome of such a hearing, the dog must be confined in such a manner so as not to be a threat to any person. The confinement may be on the owner's premises, local animal shelter or with a licensed veterinarian, as determined by the chief of police or designee.

(3)

The hearing shall be informal and strict rules of evidence shall not apply.

(4)

The city manager shall determine whether to declare the animal to be a dangerous dog based upon evidence and testimony presented at the time of the hearing by the owner in addition to witnesses, animal control personnel, police or any other persons possessing information pertinent to such determination. The owner or keeper of the dog, at their own personal expense, may be represented by counsel.

(5)

The city manager shall issue written findings within five working days after the hearing. If the dog is found to be dangerous by the city manager, the owner or keeper shall be required to maintain the dog as provided in this section.

(6)

Any victim, owner or keeper of the dog aggrieved by the determination of the city manager may appeal in writing within five working days of the date of the city manager's decision to the city clerk so that the issue can be heard by the city council.

(e)

Exemptions. Dogs may be exempt from dangerous dog declarations if one or more of the following exemptions exist:

(1)

If the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who, at the time, was committing a willful trespass upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing, or assaulting the dog, or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime; or

(2)

An animal control officer may, because of extenuating circumstances, determine from the investigation of an incident that an animal is not dangerous. However, the owner, being responsible for such dog, may be warned of the animal's tendencies and warned to take appropriate action to prevent subsequent incidences. This, however, does not exempt the owner from being cited for other animal control violations.

(f)

Owner's responsibilities. The following actions shall be required of owners or keepers of dogs that have been declared dangerous dogs:

(1)

Any dangerous dog which bites or scratches a human being, or any dog whose actions during an incident are determined to be dangerous shall be impounded for a ten-day rabies quarantine at the municipal shelter or at a veterinarian clinic located within the city limits.

(2)

All owners or keepers of dangerous dogs must allow police or animal control officers to photograph the dog declared dangerous clearly showing the color, markings and approximate size of the animal.

(3)

No dangerous dog may be kept on a porch, patio or on any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacle preventing the dog from exiting the structure.

(4)

Owners or keepers of a dangerous dog allowed to go outside must confine the animal in a securely enclosed kennel or locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure must have minimum dimensions of ten feet by 20 feet and must have secure sides and a secure top. If it has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than 12 inches. The enclosure must also provide protection from the elements for the dog.

(5)

A dangerous dog may be off the owner's premises if it is muzzled and restrained by a chain or leash with a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds not exceeding six feet in length and under the control of a responsible person 17 years of age or older. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but must prevent it from biting any person or animal.

(6)

The owner or keeper shall display a sign on his premises that reads, in letters not less than two inches high "Beware of Dangerous Dog". This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway or thoroughfare from which the property is entered. In addition, a similar sign is required to be posted on the kennel or pen or fenced yard of such animal.

(7)

The owner or keeper shall notify the police department immediately if a dangerous dog is loose, unconfined, or missing, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human being.

(8)

The owner or keeper shall notify the police department within 24 hours if a dangerous dog has died or has been sold or given away. If the dog has been sold or given away, the owner or keeper shall provide the police department with the name, address and telephone number of the new owner. No dangerous dog can be sold or given away to anyone residing within the city limits.

(9)

The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog must provide proof, to the chief of police or his designee, of liability insurance in the amount of at least $100,000.00 for bodily injury to or death of any person or persons or for damage to property owned by any persons which may result from the ownership, keeping or maintenance of such animal. An effective insurance policy with the coverage and in the amounts specified herein must be maintained by the owner or keeper at all times. Such insurance policy shall provide that no cancellation, termination or expiration of the policy will be made unless ten days' written notice is first given to the chief of police or his designee.

(10)

It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog to fail to comply with the requirements and conditions set forth in this section. Any dog found to be subject to a violation of this section may be subject to immediate seizure and impoundment. The owner or keeper of the dangerous dog shall have up to a minimum of ten calendar days to take necessary action to dispose of such dangerous animal. If the owner or keeper of the dangerous dog fails to show adequate compliance with this section the chief of police is authorized to dispose of the animal.

(11)

All offspring born of a dangerous dog within the city must be removed within two months of their birth and cannot be sold or given away to anyone who resides within the city limits.

(Code 1963, § 280.110; Code 1988, § 4-81; Ord. No. 3734, 9-20-1990; Ord. No. 4548, § 1, 10-19-2010)

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