Chief Torbet Presents Wauseon With New Vicious Dog Ordinance

CityCouncil 011 WEBBy: Shar Dimick

Wauseon Safety and Code Committee voted unanimously to recommend to City Council Police Chief Keith Torbet’s proposed changes to the dangerous/vicious dog ordinance.

The proposed new ordinance eliminates the breed-specific language from the law that Tasha Grieser, Certified Dog Trainer, ABCDT, April Petz, Wauseon pit bull owner, along with other concerned citizens have rallied to have removed over the past few months.

In addition, Torbet said “it adds the word ‘annoyance’ ¬¬dog and also adds the menacing area into the dangerous ordinance, which was not in there previously.”

He explained that he received numerous emails from both sides and, “This here, I think, is the best bet for protecting the citizens and taking care of the problem areas/problem owners we have in the city.”

In the new ordinance, an “annoyance” dog is one that has been issued two or more citations for being off the premises of the owner and not on a leash (if it is a female dog in heat) or any dog that is off the premises of the owner and not on a leash or under the reasonable control of some person.

Torbet went on to explain that if an annoyance dog then receives a third citation of any section of the ordinance it becomes a “dangerous” dog. He said this definition of a dangerous dog is the same as what is in the state ordinance.

“The issue that I came across is that if you go to the state section it refers you from this code to this code and further done it refers you to another code that refers you to another code and at any point in time the state sections can be changed modified or altered, I wanted to document that the people of the City of Wauseon could read, understand and in layman’s terms know that if your dog is running loose, it’s in violation. If your dog is acting in a menacing fashion, that a reasonable person would believe that dog is going to bite you or attempt to bite your or harm you in some way, it’s pretty straight forward and simple. I wanted it to be easy to read and easy to enforce,” said Torbet.

According to the proposed and current ordinance, a dog can also be considered dangerous if it has caused injury (other than killing or serious injury to a person), killed another dog or while off premises with its owner chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion, apparent attack or has attempted to bite a person. Finally, a vicious dog is one that killed or caused serious injury to any person without provocation. Vicious dogs do not include police dogs being used to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties or a dog that killed or seriously injured a person committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the dog owner’s property.

If City Council approves the Safety and Code Committee’s recommendation to approve Torbet’s proposal, the ordinance would then need to pass three readings before becoming law after passing the third reading.

Back in December an ordinance to amend Section 505-01(a)(2) and replace it with the definition in the State of Ohio’s Revised Code 955.11 failed on second reading.

The next council meeting is scheduled for March 2 at 5:00PM in council chambers.

Shar may be reached at

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