New dangerous dog ordinance added in SLP

The Spring Lake Park City Council is making changes to its ordinance regulating animals kept in the city.

The council April 15 unanimously approved adding a dangerous/potentially dangerous dog provision.

According to Police Chief Douglas Ebeltoft, the ordinance is in need of updating because it does not address how the city will handle potentially dangerous dogs/dangerous dogs.

In addition to adding the definition of what a dangerous or potentially dog is, the changes would also spell out the steps to be taken after an animal has been declared dangerous/potentially dangerous, Ebeltoft said.

According to the ordinance, a dog could be declared potentially dangerous if it bites a human or another animal unprovoked either on public or private property, it chase or approaches a person in an apparent attitude of attack and/or has a propensity or tendency to attack unprovoked, causing injury or otherwise threatening the safety of humans or domestic animals.

If the dog is declared dangerous, the owner is required to microchip the animal within 14 days and quarantine the dog if it has bitten or scratched a person.

The ordinance also states a dog could be dangerous if it inflicts substantial bodily harm on a human on either private or public property and/or kills a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property.

Under the new ordinance, owners of a dangerous dog will have to register the dog with the city; show evidence that they have a proper enclosure for the dog; that warning signs have been properly posted; take out a surety bond of no less than $300,000 on the dog; microchip the dog; pay an annual fee of $500 for a “Dangerous Dog” certificate of registration; and have the dog sterilized within 30 days.

The ordinance also outlines the appeal process and a $250 filing fee to request a hearing.

There are also some language changes, including changing animal control warden to animal control authority/officer, Ebeltoft said.

The new ordinance will also require the city to purchase certain items in advance, including dangerous/potentially dangerous dog warning signs and specific animal tags, he said.

“Those expenses will be recovered through the dangerous/potentially dangerous dog application process,” Ebeltoft said.

As someone who “was chewed up as a child, I think with is a good thing,” said Councilmember Bob Nelson.

The ordinance also applies to cats, Ebeltoft said.

Tammy Sakry is at [email protected]