Grayson County government this week reintroduced ordinances aimed at addressing aggressive dogs.
Though an initial version of an ordinance addressing this issue was read last year, officials opted to remove it from consideration after comments from magistrates and community members indicated more work was needed to fine-tune it.
With that in mind, Grayson County Attorney Jeremy Logsdon drafted two new ordinances that were presented during Tuesday afternoon’s regular meeting of the Grayson County Fiscal Court.
The first ordinance would address “uncontrolled, aggressive dogs” (domestic canines) causing a danger and/or inconvenience to persons on their own private property, public property, public roadways, county roadways, state highways, county road right of ways, or state highway right of ways.
The ordinance defines such behavior as acting in an aggressive manner towards any person, and includes examples such as chasing a motor vehicle, cyclist, or passerby on foot; growling; fighting; barking; biting; or attempted biting.
The ordinance states that any dog owner found guilty of failing to exercise proper care and control of his or her dog in such a manner that it allows the dog to enter onto a prohibited property and harass any person would be subject to a fine of no less than $100 nor more than $250 for each violation.
The Grayson County Animal Control Officer would investigate any complaints of a violation of this ordinance and assist the county attorney’s office in the prosecution of charges if issued.
It would be up to the discretion of the animal control officer to, upon completion of the investigation, issue a verbal or written warning to the violator, seek a criminal complaint, or take no action.
The animal control officer would also be enabled to procure and hold any aggressive dog if that dog is found to be on a prohibited property, except when the dog is on the right of way of the owner’s private property.
In the event, upon consultation with the county attorney, it is deemed necessary that the animal control officer procure and hold an aggressive dog that has reentered its owner’s outdoor private property, a search warrant based on probable cause would need to be sought with the assistance of the Grayson County Sheriff or his deputies from the sitting District Judge.
The second ordinance would address dogs’ injuring livestock and/or other domestic animals (dogs and cats) on the private property of others.
According to Logsdon, in these cases, the Kentucky Revised Statutes already permit someone to sue for damages when a dog physically injures his or her cattle, livestock, or domestic animals, but this ordinance would make such an action a fineable offense for the owner of the dog.
The ordinance states that should an owner of a dog fail to exercise the proper care and control of his or her dog in such a manner that it allows the dog to enter onto another’s private property and attack and physically injure that owner’s or his or her guest’s livestock, domestic dog, or domestic cat, he or she would be subject to a fine of no less than $100 nor more than $250 for each violation.
The cost of care of the injured livestock, dog, or cat would also be the sole responsibility of the offender upon conviction under this ordinance; however, any replacement damages concerning the death of livestock, a dog, or a cat cannot be recouped under this ordinance and must be sought by the owner by private civil suit under KRS.
The animal control officer would investigate complaints of violations of this ordinance as well, but he or she would not be enabled by the ordinance to attempt to procure and hold any dog.
At the conclusion of Logsdon’s presentations, the fiscal court voted to approve the first readings of these two ordinances.