Wauseon Council Moves Forward With Proposed Vicious Dog Ordinance

119 WEBBy: Shar Dimick

Wauseon City Council voted unanimously at the March 2 council meeting to approve the Safety and Code Committee’s recommendation to amend the “Dogs Running at Large: Dangerous or Vicious Dogs” ordinance per Police Chief Keith Torbet’s proposal.

Torbet said that the amendment which incorporates wording from the state ordinance removes the offending breed specific language, adds the concept of an ‘annoyance’ ¬¬dog and moves menacing into the dangerous dog definition.

An dog becomes an “annoyance” if it 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 if it is off the premises of the owner and is not on a leash or under the reasonable control of some person. If an annoyance dog then receives a third citation of any section of the ordinance it becomes a “dangerous” dog just as a “nuisance” dog does in the state ordinance.

A dog is also deemed “dangerous” if it has caused injury, killed another dog, or while off-premises chased or approached a person in a menacing fashion, apparent attack or has attempted to bite a person. While a “vicious” dog is one that has killed or caused serious injury to a person without provocation, who is not committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the dog owner’s property and is not a police dog assisting law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.

An annoyance dog has to register with the city no fee and show current tags and rabies vaccination records, while dangerous and vicious dogs must do the above as well as pay a fee, have liability insurance and follow other restrictions regarding spaying/neutering, housing/restraints, etc.

April Petz, Wauseon pit bull owner, addressed council and requested that council consider including provision where by a dog can be removed from the annoyance or dangerous dog list if it shows good behavior over a defined period of time.

Torbet explained that because the state law does not include a provision to remove a dog from the registries, neither can the city’s ordinance. He said that the city’s ordinance must comply with the state law. He further explained that we can make our ordinance more restrictive, but not less restrictive.

The ordinance now needs to pass three readings before becoming law.

In other council business:

•Josh Roth, Community Development Analyst from the Office of Community Development of the Ohio Development Services Agency, explained that the State of Ohio receives $42 million of community development block grants each year. Of that, $20 million goes to the Community Development Program and 60% of that goes into an allocation program, which is distributed to 104 communities on a formula basis. Fulton County gets around a $100,000 and no less than $75,000. The remaining goes into the three competitive grants: Neighborhood Revitalization, Downtown Revitalization (Wauseon has been awarded this) and Critical Infrastructure Project. In addition, Roth mentioned that they also have their newly branded, Targeted Opportunity Program, which award up to a $200,000 match toward the Wauseon Library. David Wright, Regional Planning Director, has already submitted a pre-application for this program, which he said was accepted.

•Torbet announced they are taking applicants for the Policy Academy to be held June 8-12. They can accept up to 15 applicants. Interested parties can contact the Wauseon Police Department for an application.

•Dennis Richardson, Director of Public Service reported that the Linfoot St. project is currently with the Federal Highway Department and the State of Ohio Department of Transportation plans to put out bids in April.

•Council approved 6-0 the first reading of a resolution to authorize the mayor to grant a permanent easement to Toledo Edison for a twelve-foot strip on the east side of the right away along Glenwood Avenue for underground electrical service.

•Council approved 5-0-1 the third reading of a resolution to authorize the mayor to enter into an agreement with Countywide Emergency Management Agency pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section 5502 effective in 30 days.

Shar may be reached at

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