Purdy approves ordinance lifting ban on pit bulls
New standards set for 'dangerous dogs'
The Purdy City Council has approved a new animal control ordinance that lifts the ban on pit bulls while strengthening its use for prosecution.
A new, six-page ordinance was passed governing the regulation of dogs within the city limits. Mayor Steve Roden said the old ordinance had language that would not hold up in court. He asked City Attorney Darlene Parrigon to review the ordinance to give it "more teeth."
The ordinance defined "allowing a dog to run loose" as a fineable offense.
One notable change was dropping the ban on pit bulls. The ordinance instead defined a fierce or dangerous dog and the procedure for determining the classification, including an order from the municipal judge to detain the dog until a hearing in front of aldermen within 30 days.
"Any dog declared fierce or dangerous by the aldermen may be ordered humanely euthanized upon the expiration of the appeal period," the ordinance said.
Owners may circumvent euthanasia by adhering to specific restrictions, including giving the dog a microchip implant approved by aldermen. The ordinance directed the owner to confine the dog securely in a locked kennel or cage appropriate to the size of the dog. Such kennels could not be kept at least 25 feet from the nearest dwelling of another person, a church, school or place of business, and must comply with zoning and building regulations.
Such dogs could not be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or building that would allow the dog to exit by its own choice. Owners would be required to post signage that states: "Warning: A dog is present on this property that has been declared fierce or dangerous by the City of Purdy." A picture would have to be included on the sign showing a vicious dog that would convey the idea to children that cannot read.
Fierce or dangerous dogs would have to undergo mandatory spay or neutering within one week of the ruling. Verification of sterilization would have to be presented to the city council. Such dogs would also have to be registered with the city clerk by Jan. 10 of each year, and an annual fee of $50 paid. Owners would also have to provide proof of current liability insurance in a single incident of $100,000 for bodily injury or the death of another person, or for damage to property.
"Refusal or failure to comply with any of the restrictions shall constitute a violation of this ordinance an, in addition, shall be considered as justifiable grounds for aldermen to order further restrictions or euthanization of the dog or dogs," the ordinance said.
Cost for capture, boarding and disposal of any dog will be kept by the city. If found guilty in prosecution, owners would face fees for the city to recoup that cost.
The ordinance also mandated rabies shots for every resident or person maintaining an office in the city who has a dog six months old or older. Dogs will have to wear a collar with a metal tag documenting compliance.
A new offense, "noise violation by dog," was created by the ordinance. Persons found guilty of harboring "any howling, barking or yelping dogs to the annoyance of the public" would face prosecution for a misdemeanor.
Guilty parties face fines of up to $500 per offense or imprisonment of up to 90 days or both. The ordinance went into effect immediately.