The Logan County Quorum Court will vote for the final time next month on a proposed ordinance which would prohibit owning or housing a "dangerous dog" by county residents and put restrictions on those who now own a "dangerous dog."
The ordinance was approved in March and April. If it passes at the May meeting and County Judge Gus Young signs it, it becomes law. The May meeting will be held on Monday, May 12 at 7 p.m. in the Logan County Courthouse in Paris.
When initially presented in March, the ordinance passed in a 5-4 vote. When read for the second time in April, the ordinance passed in a 6-4 vote. Justices of the Peace voting yes at the April meeting were Jeannie Andrews, Joyce Koch, Charles Pearson, Don Rogers, Mike Schluterman and Denny Stone. Those voting no were Eddie Finney, Ken Hart, Bob Krepps and Lindel Parsons.
The county proposal is similar to one enacted in 2005 by the Paris City Council.
Under the proposal, a dangerous dog is defined as one that "exhibits aggressive or dangerous behavior that could result in severe injury or harm to any person or domestic animal or that has bitten any person or dangerous animal. Those who own a "dangerous dog" when the ordinance is passed would not be required to get rid of the dog but would face certain requirements to continue keeping the dog.
• Posting a sign easily read from the road advising that a dangerous dog is being kept on the premises;
• The animal must be kept in a securely enclosed and locked pen at least six feet tall. The sides and top must be secure and the sides must be embedded into the ground to a "sufficient depth" that the dog can’t escape;
• The animal can also be kept inside a enclosed, habitable structure — such as a house — only if the windows and doors are closed;
• If the dog is not in an enclosed facility, the dog must be kept on a secure, strong leash, be properly muzzled and handled only by those 18 and above and strong enough to "keep proper control" of the dog.
Violations of the ordinance will be a Class A misdemeanor punishable by not more than one year in jail and a fine of $1,000.
Logan County Judge Gus Young said the idea for the ordinance came from the Logan County Sheriff’s Department.
"Eight to 10 months ago, a deputy had issues with a dog bothering walkers," Sheriff Steve Smith said. "The dogs were pretty aggressive. Basically what we want is, if a vicious dog, regardless of breed, bites someone, we have recourse to give them a ticket. This isn’t about taking someone’s dog and we’re not interested in having a dog pound in the county."
Young said JPs voting no had a major concern.
"The concern is that we may be getting close to getting into the animal control business, which is something the county can’t afford," Young said.