By Dedra Cordle
After a brief delay, the process to enact stricter regulations for dog owners in Urbancrest is back in motion.
At last month’s meeting, village council members said they were going to table the vote on the proposed amendment to establish tighter guidelines for dog owners because law director Rodd Lawrence needed more time to go over the draft and make sure it fell in line with the Ohio Revised Code.
Upon making needed revisions, Lawrence said at the July 1 meeting that he felt more comfortable with the proposal that is now sitting before the council.
“I think this (updated) legislation really will tighten things up in the village,” he said.
The previous draft, Lawrence said, was comprised of existing village legislation as well as parts from similar municipalities that enacted dog ordinances to fit the needs of their community. He said together, it created something of a “hodge-podge mess” because local laws have been scrambling to meet the guidelines in the Ohio Revised Code.
“That always happens after the state passes legislation.”
He said the one proposal the council has now does meet state standards.
“It is more consistent with state law which should help to give some more power to the village as they try to clamp down,” he said.
The current proposal would categorize dogs by behavior and not breed. For instance, there will be three types of classifications for dogs under suspicion of bad community behavior: nuisance, dangerous and vicious. The type the community seems to have the most trouble with based on reports from residents is the “nuisance dog” which is defined as a canine that has, without provocation, chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion. Attempted biters also fall into the nuisance category.
“Dangerous dogs” are defined as canines that have, without provocation, caused injury to any person or killed another dog.
A dog is labeled “vicious” when it has, without provocation, seriously injured or killed a person.
Owners whose canines have been given one of these designations will have the chance to appeal under the latest legislation.
The proposed legislation also grants the code enforcement officer authority to inspect the property of houses with dangerous dogs to make sure they have proper fencing in place to protect the community and the canine.
All dog owners will be required to register their dogs. The owners will also have to make sure their dogs are wearing tags while they are outside of their property.
The council is currently reviewing the updated proposal. Council members said they would discuss the measure further at the August meeting and possibly vote on the law.