Vicious Dog Rules City of Patterson
Sec. 6-16. - Pit bulls and vicious dogs regulated.
Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to own, possess, keep, exercise control over, maintain, harbor, transport or sell any pit bull or any fierce, savage, dangerous, wild or vicious dog within the city unless said ownership, possession, keeping, exercising control over, maintenance, harboring, transportation or sale is in compliance with the requirements of this section.
Definitions. The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this section, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
Animal warden means any person authorized by the city to enforce the provisions of this section and, without limitation, shall include all small animal wardens of the city and the parish.
Impounded means taken into the custody of the city or transferred to the parish council at its impounding facility.
Owner means any person who owns, possesses, keeps, exercises control over, maintains, harbors, transports or sells a pit bull, rottweiler or other vicious dog.
Person means any legal or natural person and shall include, but not be limited to, people, corporations, firms, partnerships, and other like juridical entities.
Pit bull, for purposes of this section, means the American pit bull terrier, the American staffordshire terrier, staffordshire bull terrier, the bull terrier or any other dog of mixed breed which contains as an element of its breeding any of the aforesaid mentioned breeds of dog and, which is, due to its size, color or conformity, identifiable by a veterinarian licensed to practice veterinary medicine by the state, and by the parish animal control supervisor, as being partially of any of the aforementioned breeds of dog, or which substantially conforms to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club for any of the above breeds.
The term "vicious dog" means:
Any dog that, when unprovoked, bites or attacks a human being or other animal either on public or private property, or in a vicious or terrorizing manner approaches any person in an apparent attitude of attack upon the streets, sidewalks or public grounds or places of this city;
Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
Any dog which attacks a human being or domestic animal without provocation;
Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting, or any dog trained for dog fighting; or
All rottweilers and pit bulls.
The term "vicious dog" does not mean:
A dog that has killed or caused serious injury or has attacked or injured any person while that person was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner or keeper of the dog.
A police dog that has killed or caused injury to any person while the police dog is being used to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
Vicious dog license. The owner of any pit bull or vicious dog which had been licensed pursuant to this Code shall be allowed to keep such pit bull within the city limits upon compliance with the terms of this Code if the owner applies for and receives a pit bull license. As a condition of issuance of a pit bull or vicious dog license, the owner shall at the time of application comply with or otherwise provide sufficient evidence that the owner is in compliance with all of the following regulations:
The owner must reside full-time at the same physical address at which the pit bulls or vicious dogs are housed.
The owner must be at least 21 years of age.
The owner of the pit bull or vicious dog shall provide proof of rabies vaccination, proof that it has been micro-chipped for identification by a licensed veterinarian and shall pay a one time license fee per dog. The one time license fee shall be in an amount as established by the mayor and council from time to time.
The pit bull or vicious dog license is not transferable. A pit bull or vicious dog license tag will be issued to the owner at the time of issuance of the license. Such license tag shall be attached to the dog by means of a collar or harness and shall not be attached to any pit bull or vicious dog other than the pit bull or vicious dog for which the license was issued. If the pit bull or vicious dog tag is lost or destroyed, a duplicate, replacement, tag may be issued upon the payment of a fee. The replacement tag fee shall be in an amount as established by the mayor and council from time to time.
The owner shall keep the pit bull or vicious dog confined either within the owner's residence or in a fully enclosed pen a minimum size measuring four feet by seven feet with a concrete floor at least two and one-half inches thick and at least a six-foot high fencing on all sides with a secure cover. The sides must be attached to the floor or alternatively, the sides must be embedded no less than 24 inches into the ground. Said enclosure shall be securely closed and locked at all times. Said enclosures shall be inspected annually or upon complaint made to the city regarding said enclosure. When the animal is not confined, the owner shall have the pit bull or vicious dog securely leashed. At the time of the annual inspection, the owner shall pay an inspection fee per facility inspected by the city. The inspection fee shall be in an amount as established by the mayor and council from time to time.
The owner shall have posted at each possible entrance to the owner's property where the pit bull or vicious dog is kept, a conspicuous and clearly legible pit bull or vicious dog sign. Such vicious dog sign must be at least eight inches by ten inches in rectangular dimensions and shall contain only the words "BEWARE OF DOG" in lettering not less than two inches in height.
Notice of change. The owner or keeper shall notify the city police department immediately whenever a pit bull or vicious dog is on the loose, is unconfined, has attacked another animal or has attacked a human, has died, has been sold or given away or has been relocated for keeping and maintenance to another premises within the limits of this city. If a vicious dog has been sold or given away to someone who is a resident of this city, the owner or keeper shall also provide the small animal warden with the name, address, and telephone number of the new owner of the vicious dog.
Muzzles required. It shall be unlawful for any owner or keeper to allow any vicious dog to be outside of the dwelling of the owner or keeper or outside of the enclosure unless it is necessary for the owner or keeper to obtain veterinary care for the vicious dog, or to sell or give away the vicious dog, or to comply with the commands or directions of the small animal warden with respect to the vicious dog, or for the dog to be exercised in accordance with the provisions of this section. Whenever the vicious dog is allowed outside of the owner's or keeper's dwelling or outside of its enclosure, the dog shall be securely muzzled by a muzzling device sufficient to prevent the dog from biting persons or other animals; and the dog shall be restrained with a chain having a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds and not exceeding three feet in length. Further, the dog shall be kept under the direct control and supervision of the owner or keeper at all times. The requirements of this section for the maintenance of physical control over the dog shall not be satisfied by the mere chaining, roping, leashing or similar restraining of the animal to inanimate objects, such as stakes, trees, posts, buildings or lines. In the event that the small animal warden or any other law enforcement officer has probable cause to believe that any dog in question is vicious and may pose a threat of serious harm to human beings or other domestic animals, the small animal warden or law enforcement officer may seize and impound the dog pending any hearings. The owner or keeper of the dog shall be liable to the city and parish for the costs and expenses of keeping such dog.
Liability insurance required. The owner or keeper shall present to the small animal warden or police department proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least $100,000.00 covering specifically any damage or injury which may be caused by said vicious dog during the period for which the license is sought. Said policy of insurance shall contain a provision requiring that the city be named as an additional insured or such other provision as will require that the insurer notify the city in writing no less than ten days prior to any cancellation, termination, or expiration of coverage.
Liability of parents for damages and expenses caused by a dog owned by a minor. In the event that the owner or keeper of the vicious dog is a minor, the parent or guardian of such minor shall be liable for all injuries and property damage sustained by any person or domestic animal caused by an unprovoked attack by said vicious dog.
Fines and penalties. An owner found to be in violation of this section as a first offense shall be fined not more than $500.00. An owner found to be in violation of this section as a second offense shall be fined not less than $300.00 nor more than $500.00. An owner found to be in violation of this section as a third or subsequent offense shall be fined $500.00 and the pit bull kept in violation of this section shall be impounded.
Hearings and appeals.
When the city has impounded any pit bull or vicious dog pursuant to this section, and the owner of such dog disputes the classification of such dog as a pit bull, the owner of such dog may file a written petition with the city for a hearing concerning such classification no later than seven days after impoundment. Such petition shall include the name and address, including mailing address, of the petitioner. The city will then issue a notice of hearing date by mailing a copy to the petitioner's address no later than ten days prior to the date of the hearing. Where no written request from the owner for a hearing is received by the city within seven days of impoundment, the pit bull or vicious dog shall be destroyed.
The hearing, if any, will be held before a hearing officer designated by the city. Any facts which the petitioners wish to be considered shall be submitted under oath or affirmation either in writing or orally at the hearing. The hearing officer shall make a final determination whether the dog is a pit bull or vicious dog as defined in this section. Such determination shall be considered a final order of the city. The owner may appeal the hearing officer's determination to the appropriate state district court within ten days of the date of hearing officer's determination.
If the dog is found to be a pit bull or vicious dog the owner shall have 14 days to produce evidence deemed sufficient by the city showing either compliance with the requirements of this section or that the pit bull or vicious dog is to be permanently taken out of the city limits and, in either case, the owner pays the cost of impoundment. Failing this, the dog shall be destroyed.
If the dog is found not to be a pit bull or vicious dog, the dog shall be released to the owner upon payment to the city for the cost of impoundment.
(Code 1968, § 4-17; Ord. No. 489, 2-14-1989; Ord. No. 541, §§ 1—4, 12-7-1999; Ord. No. 2011-06A, 7-5-2011)