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Proposed ordinance would require insurance for vicious dogs

Published: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 11:51 a.m. CST • Updated: Monday, Jan. 21, 2013 11:52 a.m. CST

The Newton City Council will be voting on a ordinance that requires owners of vicious dogs to have insurance of at least $50,000 and will review the definition of a vicious dog at tonight’s 6 p.m. meeting.

If adopted, the following changes would be made to the vicious dog ordinance:

• A vicious dog would be defined as, “a dog which has killed a domestic animal or pet or inflicted injury upon a domestic animal pet such that the domestic animal or pet later dies or is euthanized due to the attack may be declared a vicious dog.”

• The city administrator or his designee would determine if the dog is vicious and issue a notice.

• An individual or entity may appeal a case by filing a written notice of appeal to the mayor within seven days after receiving an the notification. If the appeal is considered, it shall take place 30 days of the receipt of the notice. The council may affirm or reverse the original order.

• If an owner or party violates the order, they will be charged with a simple misdemeanor, and the courts will be granted the authority to order all acts to fully effectuate the ordinance law.

• Reflects current practice of not impounded all animals, but allows for an infraction and no impoundment at the discretion of the officer.

• Updates what the penalty is for a simple misdemeanor and establishes a mandatory minimum criminal fine of $200.

• For the charge running at large, the responsible party will be included.

• Updates in some sections will include pigs.

• The quarantine process will be changed from 14 days to 10 and removes the option of the owner quarantining the animal at home.

• Adds a definition of vicious dog that permits, but does not require, a dog to be declared vicious if it inflicts injury on a domestic animal or pet such that death follows.

• Sets forth the process for vicious dog orders.

• Allows the city to order a dog declared vicious to be euthanized.

• Requires a person owning or harboring a vicious dog to be insured for at least $50,000.

• Requires vicious dogs to be micro-chipped, containing the dog’s name and “DVA” — declared vicious animal.

• Requires that a dog, previously declared vicious, upon violating the city code again, shall be euthanized.

• Regarding licensing, adds requirements of proof of insurance, proof of chipping, and adds an additional $50 vicious dog license surcharge.

• Specifically grants judiciary the authority to order animals to be euthanized and to order a person to not own or reside where animals are owned, harbored or found.

Staff writer Matthew Shepard may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at mshepard@newtondailynews.com.

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