Are there nuisance dogs in Bay Village?

As many Bay Village dog owners are aware, the Bay Village City Council is conducting an overall review of the Chapter 505 ordinances regarding dogs. Consideration is being given to enacting a new classification or classifications of dogs – “nuisance dog” or “potential nuisance dog” – to the existing classifications of “dangerous dog” and “vicious dog.”

The purpose in enacting this new classification is to deter a minor animal incident from escalating to a serious animal incident. In considering this new classification, it is important that the classification be effective, while not overburdening or overly complicated.

If enacted, the definition of a “nuisance dog” or “potential nuisance dog” will probably closely parallel the State of Ohio’s definition of a nuisance dog, which is “a dog that without provocation while off premises of its owner, keeper, or harborer has chased or approached a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person.” 

It is important to note that this definition only extends to a dog attacking a person and not another domestic animal, that is, a dog or cat. To increase the effectiveness of this classification as a deterrent to avoid a serious incident, consideration should be given to expand the definition to include an attack against another dog or cat. For example, the definition could be expanded to include: (1) an attack on another domestic animal which resulted in a serious injury to the domestic animal; or (2) within a period of 12 months, has bitten two domestic animals.

If the classification of “nuisance dog” or “potential nuisance dog” is enacted, the related issue includes the restraint restrictions imposed on the dog. In addition to ensuring that the dog is properly confined on the owner’s property, there are likely to be restrictions relating to when the dog is off the premises of the owner and to the general ownership of the dog. 

Common restrictions which may be applied to the dog while it is off the premises of the owner are: (1) restraining the dog with a non-retractable leash; (2) identifying the dog with a designated yellow leash, collar or similar item; and (3) muzzling the dog. 

Restrictions for ownership of the dog which may be applied to the dog could include: (1) posting an information sign in the yard that the premises has a “nuisance dog,” similar to a posting for a dangerous or vicious dog; (2) providing a photo of the dog and microchip information to the police; (3) informing the police if the dog gets loose or bites a person or animal; and (4) maintain liability insurance of at least $10,000.

In conjunction with consideration of an additional classification of dog, the City Council is considering enacting a Three Strike Rule. Under such an ordinance, upon a dog violating the animal-at-large ordinance for a third time, the dog would be classified as a “nuisance dog” or “dangerous dog.”

Along with the possible enactment of this additional dog classification, consideration is also being given to enacting an ordinance for declassifying a classified dog. A declassifying ordinance would allow a dog to be declassified upon completing certain requirements, e.g., dog obedience training, and upon completing a period of time without a follow-up incident.

Information about the proposed Chapter 505 legislation can be obtained from the Bay Village City Council Meeting Agenda website, “Chapter 505 Green Paper, September 6, 2016.” If you would like to provide your input on this proposed legislation, you should contact your Bay Village City Council member and attend an upcoming Environment, Safety and Community Services Committee meeting on this topic.

Dennis Driscoll

Bay Village

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Volume 8, Issue 22, Posted 9:49 AM, 11.15.2016