Bay Village cracks down on dogs at large

by Dennis Driscoll

To establish an effective remedy to address a serious initial dog attack as occurred this past summer, the Bay Village City Council revised ordinance section 505.01 regarding animals running at large. While the revised ordinance has the same running-at-large prohibitions as the prior ordinance, the revised ordinance has escalating penalties which provides Bay Village with broad authority to deter a future dog attack.

The running-at-large restrictions prohibit the owner of a dog, cat or other animal from allowing the animal to remain upon any public street or on any city park except under the reasonable control of a responsible person. The ordinance further requires that, while on private property, the animal be contained on the private property and not allowed to cross outside the property line.

Under the revised ordinance, upon an owner’s first violation of this ordinance, the owner is guilty of a minor misdemeanor and can be fined up to $150. Upon an owner’s second violation of this ordinance, the owner is guilty of a fourth degree misdemeanor, for which the owner can be fined up to $250 and sentenced to 30 days. Upon the third violation, the owner is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor, for which the owner can be fined up to $750 and sentenced to 90 days.

If the animal violates this ordinance and bites a domestic animal, the owner is guilty of a third degree misdemeanor, for which the owner can be fined up to $500 and sentenced to 60 days. If the animal violates this ordinance and bites a human, the owner is guilty of a second degree misdemeanor. If the animal violates this ordinance and seriously injures a domestic animal or person, the owner is guilty of a first degree misdemeanor and can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to 180 days.

Furthermore, upon a conviction for a second violation, the Court will have authority to place the owner on up to five years’ probation and impose any restrictions reasonably related to the overriding purpose of the sentencing, such as requiring obedience training.

At the Oct. 10 meeting of the Environment, Safety and Community Services Committee, citizens and City Council members expressed concern about owners allowing dogs to run free in Bay Village city parks and the need to educate owners as to the possible consequences of continuing to allow their dogs to run free. The number of dogs often running free in the park at Columbia Road was particularly cited as a concern. The revised ordinance could be appropriately used to effectively address this issue.

The Bay Village Council is in the process of conducting an overall review of Chapter 505 regarding animals, and it is anticipated that further ordinances will be revised in an effort to deter a minor animal incident from escalating to a serious animal incident.

Comments are closed.