Archive for Thursday, September 11, 2003

City Council approves vicious dog ordinance

September 11, 2003

The Basehor City Council decided to join cities such as Lansing and Lawrence Monday, Sept. 8, as municipalities implementing ordinances to limit the ownership of vicious dogs.

During its meeting Monday night, the City Council unanimously approved an amendment to its vicious dog ordinance, first placed into law in 1988.

City attorney John Thompson said the amendment is "non-breed specific."

The ordinance defines a vicious dog as one which "by virtue of its breeding, training, characteristics. . . the owner has reason to know has a propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked."

Under the amendment, if such a dog either attacks or attempts to attack another person or animal, a court may

require its destruction or give the owner 48 hours to remove the animal from the city.

The amendment also requires that owners of such animals carry $200,000 in insurance per incident, ensuring victims can recover damages from attacks by untamed animals.

"There is a lot of statistics that prove certain breeds have certain characteristics," Thompson said. "The idea is not to outlaw them specifically but require the (owner) to have insurance."

Originally, the ordinance demanded vicious dog owners carry $50,000 in insurance. The City Council upped the ante Monday night, voting 5-0, to increase the amount to $200,000.

"It also has some civil bite to it, if you will," Thompson said.

"It makes the individual financially responsible for injuries to people and other animals."

The city's amendment closely resembles those approved recently in Lansing and Lawrence, the attorney said.

"I think the message there was they didn't want those types of breeds," Thompson said.

Ultimately, City Council members agreed.

"That was the vehicle we were looking for in the beginning," City Council president Julian Espinoza said. "The onus is being placed on the owner and I think that's exactly what we were looking for

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