Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

April 24, 2012

New dog ordinance to take effect

Council passed measure on Monday

Kokomo’s new dog ordinance took effect Tuesday, giving animal control officers new authority to crack down on dangerous animals.

Anyone found harboring a dangerous animal — defined as an animal that has “aggressively bitten, attacked or endangered” a human, or which has been bred for dog fighting — could be fined up to $250 for the first offense under the new ordinance.

The Kokomo Common Council passed the measure 8-0 Monday. No one from the public spoke either for or against the ordinance.

The new law also places restrictions on the owners of “potentially dangerous dogs.”

A dog could be deemed potentially dangerous if it engages in any unprovoked behavior that causes a person to perform a defensive action, assuming the animal is off its owner’s property.

Any dog that bites a human, unprovoked, could be deemed potentially dangerous, even if the bite doesn’t cause serious injury. A dog that shows aggression toward a person could be considered potentially dangerous, even if it doesn’t bite.

A dog that attacks and injures another domestic animal, or runs loose, or chases or menaces a person, could also be considered potentially dangerous.

Owners could be fined between $250 and $500 for a first offense, depending on the severity and nature of the offense.

The ordinance also addresses illegal tethering of dogs — either through attaching the dog to a heavy chain, or leaving the dog tethered where it can’t reach food, water, shelter or shade.

Council attorney Corbin King made a few technical changes to the ordinance before Monday’s vote.

The only real change was the addition of specific minimum sizes for animal pens. Anyone harboring a dangerous animal will either have to keep the pet indoors or, if the pet is outdoors, the pet will have to be kept in a chain link fence enclosure.

The minimum size of the enclosure would depend on the size of the dangerous animal, from a 24-square-foot enclosure for dogs weighing less than 20 pounds to a 48-square-foot enclosure for extra large animals, over 75 pounds.

• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via email at scott.smith@kokomotribune.com

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