From breed to behavior: Cleveland City Council revises vicious d - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

From breed to behavior: Cleveland City Council revises vicious dog ordinance

Posted: Updated:
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Cleveland City Council voted to amend part of the City's vicious dog ordinance (Ord. 712-11) during its Monday night meeting.  Major changes to the law include two classifications for threat dogs: Level I – Dangerous & Level II – Vicious. Emphasis on the classification is based upon evidence of behavior of the dog, not the breed.  The pit bull breed will no longer be considered vicious.

Under the revisions, the two classifications for vicious dogs are:

  • Level I Threat Dog - Dangerous
    • Without provocation has chased or approached a person in a menacing manner or apparent attitude of attack
    • Attempted to bite or endanger any person while off the premises of its owner
    • Any dog that on three separate occasions within a 12 month period has been impounded by the City Animal Control Officer for being unrestrained or uncontrolled off its owner's property
    • Level II Threat Dog - Vicious
      • Any dog that without provocation has caused serious injury (puncture wounds that require immediate medical assistance) or death to any person or domestic animal
      • A level II classification does NOT include dogs that seriously injure or kill a person or dog committing or attempting to commit a criminal trespass or criminal offense on the property of the owner

All dogs with a Level I or II label must:

  • Be spayed or neutered (unless exempted by a licensed veterinarian for health reasons)
  • Have signage on their premises indicating "Level I Threat Dog" or "Level II Threat Dog"
  • All owners of a level I or II threat dog (exempt any dog that on three separate occasions within a 12 month period has been impounded for being unrestrained or uncontrolled off its owner's property) will be required to obtain a policy of liability insurance of not less than $100,000 within 30 days of classification

"Our previous law clearly targeted one breed, pit bull, as a vicious animal," said Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation. "The breed of a dog is not an indicator of its personality.  Any dog who is poorly trained and neglected, can be vicious and a threat to our community.  These revisions shift the focus from the type of dog, to its behavior and neglectful actions of its owner."

The classification of a threat dog can be made by Cleveland Municipal Court, Cleveland Animal Control Services or Cleveland Police. Owners will receive written notification and have the right to appeal. The court, animal control or police must show evidence in order to label a dog a threat. 

Dogs can be released from these level classifications if:

  • A level I dog is without incident for two years
  • A level II dog is without incident for five years. However, the level II dog must still be kept in a secure enclosure and maintain a minimum $100,000 liability insurance policy
  • Written certification or completion of obedience training

Dogs exempt from a Level I or Level II classification include police dogs.

 

Cleveland City Council's Public Safety Committee heard more than two hours of testimony from the city's chief animal control officer and various animal rescue and welfare organizations, including Sharon Harvey, executive director of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

 

"The people of the Cleveland Animal Protective League applaud Councilman Matt Zone and Cleveland City Council's Public Safety Committee for unanimously voting to move one step closer to enacting a breed-neutral dangerous/vicious dog ordinance," said Sharon Harvey.  Not only will this new ordinance better address public safety by enhancing enforceability and stiffening the punishment for owners of dogs that pose a real threat, not just a perceived threat by virtue of their breed or appearance, but it's the right thing to do as a humane community.   We also commend Chief Animal Control Officer John Baird for his progressive mindset around animal welfare issues in our city."

 

"There are many responsible owners with good pit bulls," said John Baird, Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Cleveland. "In my years of experience it has become more difficult to identify, with certainty, if a dog is indeed a pit bull.  Any dog can be vicious.  I feel these revisions are fair and appropriate for our community." 

Cleveland City Council voted to amend part of the City’s vicious dog ordinance (Ord. 712-11) during its Monday, June 6 meeting.  Major changes to the law include two classifications for threat dogs: Level I – Dangerous & Level II – Vicious. Emphasis on the classification is based upon evidence of behavior of the dog, not the breed.  The pit bull breed will no longer be considered vicious.

 

Under the revisions, the two classifications for vicious dogs are:

·         Level I Threat Dog - Dangerous

o   Without provocation has chased or approached a person in a menacing manner or apparent attitude of attack

o   Attempted to bite or endanger any person while off the premises of its owner

o   Any dog that on three separate occasions within a 12 month period has been impounded by the City Animal Control Officer for being unrestrained or uncontrolled off its owner’s property

·         Level II Threat Dog - Vicious

o   Any dog that without provocation has caused serious injury (puncture wounds that require immediate medical assistance) or death to any person or domestic animal

o   A level II classification does NOT include dogs that seriously injure or kill a person or dog committing or attempting to commit a criminal trespass or criminal offense on the property of the owner

All dogs with a Level I or II label must:

·         Be spayed or neutered (unless exempted by a licensed veterinarian for health reasons)

·         Have signage on their premises indicating “Level I Threat Dog” or “Level II Threat Dog”

·         All owners of a level I or II threat dog (exempt any dog that on three separate occasions within a 12 month period has been impounded for being unrestrained or uncontrolled off its owner’s property) will be required to obtain a policy of liability insurance of not less than $100,000 within 30 days of classification

“Our previous law clearly targeted one breed, pit bull, as a vicious animal,” said Councilman Matt Zone, who introduced the legislation. “The breed of a dog is not an indicator of its personality.  Any dog who is poorly trained and neglected, can be vicious and a threat to our community.  These revisions shift the focus from the type of dog, to its behavior and neglectful actions of its owner.”

 

The classification of a threat dog can be made by Cleveland Municipal Court, Cleveland Animal Control Services or Cleveland Police. Owners will receive written notification and have the right to appeal. The court, animal control or police must show evidence in order to label a dog a threat.

 

Dogs can be released from these level classifications if:

·         A level I dog is without incident for two years

·         A level II dog is without incident for five years. However, the level II dog must still be kept in a secure enclosure and maintain a minimum $100,000 liability insurance policy

·         Written certification or completion of obedience training

Dogs exempt from a Level I or Level II classification include police dogs.

 

Cleveland City Council’s Public Safety Committee heard more than two hours of testimony from the city’s chief animal control officer and various animal rescue and welfare organizations, including Sharon Harvey, executive director of the Cleveland Animal Protective League.

 

“The people of the Cleveland Animal Protective League applaud Councilman Matt Zone and Cleveland City Council’s Public Safety Committee for unanimously voting to move one step closer to enacting a breed-neutral dangerous/vicious dog ordinance,” said Sharon Harvey.  Not only will this new ordinance better address public safety by enhancing enforceability and stiffening the punishment for owners of dogs that pose a real threat, not just a perceived threat by virtue of their breed or appearance, but it’s the right thing to do as a humane community.   We also commend Chief Animal Control Officer John Baird for his progressive mindset around animal welfare issues in our city.”

 

“There are many responsible owners with good pit bulls,” said John Baird, Chief Animal Control Officer for the City of Cleveland. “In my years of experience it has become more difficult to identify, with certainty, if a dog is indeed a pit bull.  Any dog can be vicious.  I feel these revisions are fair and appropriate for our community.”

 

Copyright 2011 WOIO. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow