TO: City Council Member
District Advisory Board Members
SUBJECT: Modifications to Animal Control Code - Inherently Dangerous Dog Breeds
INITIATED BY: Environmental Health Department
Recommendations: Approve the proposed changes to the City Code, or suggest alterations to the standards presented.
Background: The Department of Environmental Health has received requests from citizens and Council members requesting more stringent controls on inherently dangerous dog breeds, specifically pit bulls, rottweilers, and mixes of those breeds. Current City codes do not place conditions on specific breeds of dog based on their ability to cause severe injury, but address only animals that have individually been declared dangerous by the health officer.
Analysis: The proposed code changes would require that pit bulls, rottweilers, and mixes of those breeds be maintained in the same manner as dogs that have been declared dangerous. These standards include housing within a secure enclosure, posting of warning signs, and require muzzles on animals during transportation outside their secure enclosures. The proposed code would also require that the breeds specified be registered with the Environmental Health Department, have microchips implanted to facilitate identification, and that owners maintain liability insurance in the amount of $200,000.
Financial Considerations: The proposed ordinance will be enforced by existing Animal Control staff. Based on staff estimates of the local dog population, registration fees could generate revenue in excess of $100,000 if current owners chose to maintain their animals. Voluntary compliance rates are questionable, however.
Legal Considerations: The Department of Law has reviewed the proposed changes as to form, and will draft an implementing ordinance.
Recommendation/Actions: It is requested that that the District Advisory Board provide recommendations to the Environmental Health Department for submission of the code changes or suggestions for modification of the proposal.
"Dangerous dog" means:
(a) Any dog which has exhibited a vicious propensity toward persons or domestic animals and is capable of inflicting serious physical harm or death to humans and which would constitute a danger to human life or property; provided, however, a dog shall not be determined to be dangerous under this subsection if the dog is being confined in a substantial enclosure to which members of the general public do not have access; or
(b) Any dog which, without provocation, attacks or bites, or has attacked or bitten, a human being or domestic animal. An attack or bite shall be considered to have been provoked if it occurs on the property of the dog's owner and the victim was committing a willful trespass at the time; or
(c) Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting.; or
(d) Any dog deemed or declared dangerous in accordance with Section 6.04.045; or
(e) Any dog which is determined to be a member of the breed groups commonly known as Rottweiler, Pit Bull, or mixes of those breeds.
Section 6.04.046 Dangerous dog--Failure to confine--Destruction and defenses.
(a) It is unlawful for an owner of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside a proper enclosure unless the dog is restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint by a responsible person for the purpose of transportation to and from a veterinarian for medical treatment. In such event, the dangerous dog shall be securely muzzled and restrained with a chain or leash not exceeding four (4) feet in length, and shall be under the direct control and supervision of the owner or keeper of the dangerous dog. The muzzle shall be made and used in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any human or animal. A proper enclosure for purposes of this section means the dog is securely confined indoors or confined in a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure upon the premises of the owner of the dog. The pen or structure must have secure sides and a secure top attached to the sides. If the pen or structure has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than one foot. All such pens or structures must be approved by the Health Officer and be adequately lighted and kept in a clean and sanitary condition.
Section 6.04.047 Signs required.
The owner of a dangerous dog shall display in a prominent place at the entrance to his or her premises a clearly visible warning sign indicating there is a dangerous dog on the premises. A similar sign is required to be posted on the pen or kennel of the animal. (Ord. No. 41-138 § 5)
Section 6.04.048 Registration and Insurance
(a) The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog shall annually register the dangerous dog with the Health Officer on such forms designated by the Environmental Health Department Animal Control Section, and shall have a microchip, traceable to the dangerous dog and owner of the dog, inserted into the dog by a licensed veterinarian. The owner or keeper shall pay a $100.00 annual registration fee to the City of Wichita and shall pay all costs associated with the microchip procedure. The owner or keeper shall notify the Environmental Health Department in writing within seven (7) days prior to any change in the address of the owner or keeper or the location of the dangerous dog.
(b) The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog required to be registered under this Section shall maintain liability insurance in the amount of one hundred thousand dollars for each such dog against the potential damage liabilities and hazards associated with the ownership or possession of such dog. The owner or keeper shall file with the Environmental Health Department a certificate of insurance reflecting the required minimum insurance and naming the City of Wichita as an additional insured.