Ordinance 957-99

AN EMERGENCY ORDINANCE

To amend Sections 603.02, 604.01,604.02, 604.03 and 604.04, and 604.99 of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976, as amended by Ordinance No. 304-A-89, passed June 16, 1989, relating to vicious dogs.

Whereas, this ordinance constitutes an emergency measure providing for the usual daily operation of a municipal department; now, therefore,

BE IT ORDAINED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:

Section I. That the following Sections of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976:

Section 603.02, as amended by Ordinance No. 1020-76, passed June 14, 1976, and

Section 604.01 as amended by Ordinance number 90-96, passed March 18, 1996,

Section 604.02 as amended by Ordinance No. 2884-89, passes December 4, 1989

Sections 604.03, 604.04, and 604.99 as amended by Ordinance No. 304-A-89, passed June 16, 1989,

Are hereby amended to read, respectively, as follows:


Section 603.02       Unmuzzled Dogs at Large; Duty to Report

(a) No person shall permit an unmuzzled dog at any time to be on a public street, highway, park, building or other public place except when held securely in leash by the owner thereof or another responsible person, except when the dog is legally engaged in training for the purpose of hunting, herding, agility or dog competition events, accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or a handler.

(b) Every City employee, while in the performance of his official duties, who has in his possession or under his control any transmitter and receiver, telephone or other device ordinarily used for two-way communication, shall immediately report to police officers or dog wardens of the City the sighting of any unmuzzled dogs found to be in a public place in violation of this section. The employee shall report the time, place, date and description of the dog, together with the employee's name.

(c) If a violation of division (a) of this section involves a dangerous or vicious dog as defined in division (b) or (k) of Section 604.01, the dog shall be impounded pursuant to Section 603.02. Impoundment of a dangerous or vicious dog because it was found to be in violation of this section shall not exempt the owner of the dog from being prosecuted under Section 604.99.

(d)Whoever violates this section is guilty of permitting unmuzzled dogs at large, and shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) on the first offense, and on each subsequent offense shall be fined not less than one hundred fifty dollars ($150.00), or more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250.00), which fines shall be mandatory, and shall not be suspended or remitted.

(e)An amount equal to the amount of fines and penalties imposed pursuant to this section shall annually be contributed to and used for the benefit of the Division of Dog Pound.


Section 604.01       Definitions

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply, unless the context shall indicate another or different meaning or intent:

(a) "Animal Warden" means the chief dog warden of the City of Cleveland or his duly authorized representative.

(b) "Dangerous Dog" means a dog that, without provocation, has chased or approached in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack, or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person, while that dog is off the premises of its owner, keeper or harborer or some other responsible person, or not physically restrained or confined in a locked pen which has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure which has a top, or any dog which, on three separate occasions within a twelve month period has been impounded by the City Animal Warden for being unrestrained or uncontrolled off its owner's, keeper's or harborer's premises .

(c) "Domestic Animal" means a tamed animal.

(d) "Impounded" means taken into the custody of the public pound in the City of Cleveland.

(e) "Law Enforcement Officer" has the same meaning as division (k) of section 601.01 of these codified ordinances

(f) "Menacing fashion" means that a dog would cause any person being chased or approached to reasonably believe that the dog will cause physical injury to that person.

(g) "Owner" means any person, firm, corporation, organization, or department possessing, harboring, keeping, having an interest in, or having control or custody of an animal.

(h) "Person" means a natural person or any legal entity, including but not limited to, a corporation, firm, partnership, or trust.

(i) "Police dog" means a dog that has been trained, certified, and or approved by the state and may be used, to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

(j) "Serious Injury" means any physical injury that results in broken bones or lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.

(k) "Vicious dog" means a dog that, without provocation, meets any of the following:

1. Has killed or caused serious injury to any person

2. Has caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person, or has killed or caused serious injury to any domestic animal;

3. Belongs to a breed that is commonly known as a "pit bull" dog, the ownership, keeping, or harboring of such a breed of dog shall be prima facie evidence of the ownership, keeping, or harboring of a vicious dog.

4. Is owned, kept or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting of any dog trained for dog fighting.

(l) "Without Provocation" means that a dog was not teased, tormented or abused by a person, or that the dog was not coming to the aid or the defense of a person who was not engaged in illegal or criminal activity and who was not using the dog as a means of carrying out such activity.


604.02       Exemptions

(a) The provisions of this chapter shall not include a police dog

(b) Notwithstanding the definition of a vicious dog in Section 604.01, no dog may be declared vicious if:

(1) An injury or damage is sustained by a person who, at the time such injury or damage was sustained, was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper or the dog, or was teasing ,tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or was committing or attempting to commit a crime;

(2) An injury or damage was sustained by a domestic animal which at the time such injury or damage was sustained was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog or was trespassing upon premise occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog or;

(3) The dog was protecting or defending a human being within the immediate vicinity of the dog from an unjustified attack or assault.

(4) The dog is;

(a) Within the confines of the Cleveland Convention Center as defined in Section 133.12 or other premises classified as assembly use structures under Group A-3 of the Ohio Basic Building Code; and

(b) Under the control and supervision of an owner who has entered the dog in a show or exhibition in the premises described in division (b)(4)(a). of this Section.

(c) The owner, keeper or harborer of a vicious or dangerous dog is not liable for damages for any injury, death or loss to person or property caused by such dog, if such injury, death or loss to person or property caused by such dog, if such injury, death or loss was caused to the person or property of an individual who, at the time, was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner, keeper or harborer or was committing or attempting to commit a criminal offense against any person, or was teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog on the owner, keeper or harborer's property.

(d) Dogs conforming to 604.01 (k)(3) that are not in violation of 604.01(k)(1) or 604.01(k)(2), that have successfully completed any of the following title certificates, awarded from any of the authorized agencies, shall be exempt from this section.

1) The owner of the dog shall provide a copy of the certificate to the Dog Warden, who shall keep the certificate on file. The certificate must contain the name of the individual dog, the name of the owner, and a date noting when the title certificate was successfully completed.

2) The owner shall submit a photograph of the dog to the Dog Warden, who shall keep the photograph on file.

3) The owner, keeper or harborer shall have the dog tattooed or microchipped to secure positive identification, and shall submit to the Dog Warden the microchip implantation number or tattoo number assigned to the dog. The Dog Warden shall keep the documentation on file.

4) The owner shall submit proof of a valid County License tag to the Dog Warden at time of application for exemption status.

(e) Acceptable Title Certificates are:

Companion dog

Canine Good Citizen

Temperament Test

(f) Authorized agencies are any member or sanctioned Kennel, Obedience or Specialty Club that is authorized to hold conformation or obedience shows under the official guidelines as set forth by the American Kennel Club, United Kennel Club or Canadian Kennel Club, or the American Temperament Test Society.

(g) The Dog Warden, upon receiving all documentation pertinent to the exemption status, shall issue such dog an exemption tag. The exemption tag fee is $10.00

(h) The owner of an exempted dog shall securely fasten the exemption tag to a substantial collar worn by such dog at all times. A valid County license tag shall also be affixed to such collar at all times. Such collar and tags may only be removed if said dog is:

1) Actively engaged in lawful hunting or

2) The dog is competing in a dog show or other event where event rules prohibit the dog's wearing of collar and/or tags or

3) The dog is confined as defined in Section 604.03(a)

(i) The fee charged for replacement of a lost exemption tag shall be $5.00

Section 604.03       Control of Vicious and Dangerous Dogs

No owner, keeper or harborer of a dangerous or vicious dog shall fail to do either of the following, except when the dog is legally engaged in training for the purpose of hunting, herding, agility and dog competition events, accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or a handler:

(a) While the dog is on the premises of the owner, keeper, harborer or handler, maintain it all all times securely indoors, or in a locked pen which has a top, the dimensions of which should be at least five (5) feet by ten (10) feet, with secure sides and a secure top, if such structure should have no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be imbedded into the ground no less than two (2) feet. Such structure must be suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the dog from escaping, or in a locked fenced yard which fence is at least six (6) feet, or other locked enclosure which has a top. Any enclosure must provide protection from the elements for the dog.

(b)While the dog is off the premises of the owner, keeper or harborer, keep it on a substantial collar and leash or not exceeding six feet in length and additionally shall do the following:

(1) Keep the dog in a locked pen which has a top, locked fenced yard of at least six (6) feet high, or other locked enclosure which has a top; or

(2) Have the leash or tether controlled by a person who is at least eighteen (18) years of age or securely attach, tie, or affix the leash or tether to the ground or a stationary object or fixture so that the dog is adequately restrained and station such person in close enough proximity to the dog so as to prevent it from causing injury to any person; and

(3) Muzzle the dog. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration but must prevent it from biting any person or animal.

(c) No owner, keeper or harborer of the dog shall permit the unmuzzled dog at anytime to be on a public street, highway, park, building, or other public place.

(d) A dog declared to be dangerous or vicious by violating section 604.01(b) or 604.01(k)(1) or 604.01(k)(2) shall, at the expense of such owner, keeper, or harborer, be tattooed or microchipped to secure positive identification


Section 604.04       Insurance; Signs; Notification

(a) All owners, keepers or harborers of vicious dogs shall obtain a policy of liability insurance with an insurer authorized to write liability insurance in this state providing coverage in each occurrence, subject to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) because of damage or bodily injury to or death of a person caused by the vicious dog. It shall be the responsibility of the owner to provide a copy of the policy for liability insurance to the Animal Warden on a yearly basis.

(b) All persons who presently own, keep or harbor a vicious dog must obtain a policy of liability insurance within thirty (30) days of the effective date of this section.

(c) All owners, keepers or harborers of vicious or dangerous dogs shall have posted and displayed at each possible entrance onto the premises where the vicious or dangerous dog is kept a conspicuous sign, clearly legible, and easily readable by the public warning that there is a vicious or dangerous dog on the premises. Such sign shall be at least eight (8) inches by ten (10) inches in rectangular dimensions and shall contain only the words "VICIOUS DOG" or "DANGEROUS DOG" in lettering not less than two (2) inches in height. Such sign should also include a visual symbol for any people or children who cannot read words.

(d)

(1) The owner of a vicious or dangerous dog shall notify the animal warden within twenty-four (24) hours if the vicious or dangerous dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal, has attacked any person, has died, or transfer of ownership or possession of the dog has occurred.

(2) If there has been a transfer of possession or ownership of a dangerous dog or vicious dog, within ten (10) days after such transfer of ownership or possession, the seller, transferor, owner, keeper or harborer shall provide a completed copy of a written form to the animal warden on which the seller, transferor, owner, keeper or harborer shall furnish the following information:

(a) The name and address of the buyer or other transferee of the dog;

(b) The age, sex, color, breed, and registration number of the dog.

(c) In addition, the seller, transferor, owner, keeper or harborer shall answer the following questions which shall be specifically stated on the form as follows:

"Has the dog ever chased or attempted to attack or bite a person? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."

"Has the dog ever bitten a person? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."

"Has the dog ever seriously injured or killed a person or other animal? If yes, describe the incident(s) in which the behavior occurred."

The animal warden shall furnish the form to the seller or transferor at no cost.

Section 604.99       Penalties

(a) If a violation of division (a) (b) or (c) of Section 604.03 involved a dangerous dog, whoever violates that Section is guilty of a misdemeanor of the second degree on a first offense and of a misdemeanor of the first degree on each subsequent offense and shall be fined one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) which fine shall be mandatory, and shall not be suspended or remitted. Additionally, the Court may order the offender:

(i) to personally supervise the dangerous dog that he owns, keeps or harbors,
(ii) to cause that dog to complete dog obedience training,
(iii) to attend a class on responsible pet ownership and dog behvior. or,
(iv) to do all three. The Court may order the dog to be spayed or neutered, at the owner's keeper's or harborer's expense.

The court may order the vicious dog to be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the County Dog Warden, or the County Humane Society. For repeat offenders of animal control laws under sections 603.02 and 603.04 the Court may require the owner to attend a class on responsible pet ownership and dog behavior.

(b) If the violation of division (a) or (c) of Section 604.03 involved a vicious dog, whoever violates that section may be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree on a first offense. When any person is found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, such person shall be fined one thousand dollars ($1,000.00), which fine shall be mandatory, and shall not be suspended or remitted. Additionally, the Court may order the vicious dog to be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the County Dog Warden, or the County Humane Society.

(c) Any owner who does not obtain the liability insurance coverage required in accordance with divisions (a) or (b) of Section 604.04 shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(d) Any owner that is found to be in violation of 604.03 (d) shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(e) Any owner that is found to be in violation of 604.02 (B)(4)(d) shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(f) Any owner that is found to be in violation of 604.02 (B)(4)(h) shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(g) Any owner found to own, keep, or harbor a dog wearing a fictitious, altered or invalid exemption tag shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(h) Any exempted dog conforming to Section 604.01(k)(3) that is found to be in violation of Section 604.01 (k)(1) or 604.01 (k)(2) shall forfeit its exemption status permanently.

(i) Any owner who is found guilty of violating divisions (c) or (d) of Section 604.04 shall be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(j) Any owner found guilty of violating this chapter shall pay all expenses, including shelter, food, veterinary expenses for identification or certification of the breed of the animal or boarding and veterinary expenses necessitated by the seizure of the vicious or dangerous dog for the protection of the public, and such other expenses as may be required for the destruction of any such dog.

(k) An amount equal to the amount of fines and penalties imposed pursuant to this section shall annually be contributed to and used for the benefit of the Division of Dog Pound.

(l) This Section shall not apply whenever the conduct proscribed in this chapter constitutes a felony under the RC 955.99.

Section 2. That the following existing Sections of the Codified Ordinances of Cleveland, Ohio, 1976:

Section 603.02, as amended by Ordinance No. 1020-76, passed June 14, 1976, and

Section 604.01 as amended by Ordinance number 90-96, passed March 18, 1996,

Section 604.02 as amended by Ordinance No. 2884-89, passed December 4, 1989

Section 604.03, 604.04, and 604.99 as amended by Ordinance No. 304-A-89, passed June 16, 1989, are hereby repealed.

Section 3. That this ordinance is hereby declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its passage and approval by the Mayor; otherwise it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.