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September 15, 2019

8/29/2019 2:01:00 PM
Two dogs in Harris area designated 'dangerous'

Two dogs that killed 20 free range chickens, on two properties near Harris June 2, have been declared “dangerous dogs.” But they can remain in the area if their owners adhere to a host of conditions adopted last week by the County Board.  The vote was 4-1 with the Commissioner for the district where the incidents happened, Mike Robinson, opposed.  He said he didn’t support one of the conditions on length of leash allowed.

An Administrative Law Judge heard the dangerous dog case July 25, after owners Chelsie and Donald Zak appealed the designation imposed by county ordinance.  The judge recommended the designation be upheld and County Attorney Janet Reiter advised the commissioners to apply county ordinance conditions.  

~ These are:  Dogs must be microchipped, vaccinated and proof provided;  a notice must be posted on the property where they are kept, the dogs and owners must complete an obedience class and a leash of not more than 10 feet will be used to contain the dogs when outdoors.  (This item was amended to 40 feet.)  
The dogs are mother and son, both a Chesapeake-chocolate lab mix.  

The sheriff’s office was notified June 2 when they were located in a yard of a 120 acre farmstead, where 12 free range chickens were kept.  Birds were found dead or dying and only one could be saved.  A teenaged son corraled the dogs at that time, but they broke free.  

Later that same day, another family came home to find the dogs among dead chickens on their 30-acre parcel.  This time the dogs were penned in the garage and when Deputy Kyle Duncan posted the dogs’ photo on Facebook he was able to locate the dogs’ owners.

The dogs were declared dangerous under county ordinance and the owners appealed June 27.

There was County Board discussion last week about the severity of the penalty.  Commissioner Chris DuBose seemed reluctant imposing all the conditions allowed under the dangerous dog ordinance. He said he’d feel differently  if the dogs “...had attacked kids,  but dogs and chickens don’t get along.”  

Commissioner Ben Montzka also offered to amend the motion,  and allow a much longer leash for when the dogs are outdoors,  saying they are big dogs and a 10-foot leash is not humane.  He and the Board, with the exception of the no vote from Robinson, compromised at 40 feet.

If you reside in an urban area, cities regulate dangerous dogs in their own way.  Cases of bites and/or attack are reviewed by independent volunteers, usually a chief of police from another city.  City ordinances may require more or fewer conditions than the rural dangerous dogs can be required to live under.

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