Proposed ordinance needs more tweaking, say officials

A proposed ordinance that would create tough restrictions for dogs and other domesticated animals that bite or attack a person or pet is heading back to the Board of Health for some additional tweaking.

The measure had been slated for final consideration by the City Council on Tuesday night, but aldermen voted 14-0 to send it back to the board, after City Public Health Administrator Dottie-Kay Bowersox said some changes were needed to the proposal, most of them centering around the restrictions for animals deemed

dangerous.

In the works for close to a year, the measure was recommended for passage by the Board of Health in October.

The City Council scheduled a public hearing for residents to comment or ask questions about the proposal on Tuesday, but the only people who spoke on the proposed changes at the meeting at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave., were Bowersox; Jill Kline, vice president of community impact programs for the Wisconsin Humane Society; and Board of Health member Bob Mozol.

Although fairly complex, the proposed ordinance essentially calls for eliminating the city’s existing vicious animal ordinance, which dubs a licensed animal “vicious” if it bites or injures a human being or pet without provocation twice within a 12-month period.

In its stead it would create two new designations — one for dangerous animals and another for prohibited

dangerous animals.

An animal would be deemed dangerous if police and Health Department staff could prove the animal bit, attacked or otherwise injured another pet or person

without provocation.

An animal would be deemed a prohibited dangerous animal if it seriously injures a person, kills another domesticated animal while off its property, or was already deemed dangerous and was found guilty of an additional unprovoked incident in which it bit, attacked, injured or endangered another pet or person.

An animal could also be deemed prohibited-dangerous if it had already been determined to be dangerous and its owner failed to follow the restrictions required to keep the animal in the city, such as posting signs and keeping the animal penned, kenneled or muzzled while outside.

Once designated as a prohibited dangerous animal, the animal would have to be removed from the city, but its caretaker would be allowed to appeal that decision.

Read more via Issues arise with animal rules — Proposed ordinance needs more tweaking, say officials.

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