The councillors approved the move unanimously to update the City’s “Potentially Dangerous and Dangerous Dogs” ordinance during their regular council meetings, this one in question took place on on October 23rd.
Early next year dogs that are declared to be “dangerous” will not be allowed to be in Sequim city limits any longer.
The changes they made to the code are from the year 1999 stat.
City Attorney Kristina Nelson-Gross said: “Changes to the code from 1999 to follow state guidelines” – “The state has made clear that local jurisdictions are not required to keep dangerous dogs in their jurisdiction”
If it does transpire that the dog is declared “dangerous” up to “potentially dangerous” then the dog owner is offered two options:
…humane euthanasia of the dog or send it to a secure city shelter in compliance with state laws.
If it happens that the dog is declared dangerous before January 2018 then Nelson-Gross, the owner, could then apply to have the dog held at the city limits in a proper enclosure with security and clear signs telling people there is a dangerous dog inside, then the dog must also be microchipped and have insurance to the value of $250,000 to cover any potential injuries inflicted by the dog.
In the cases where a dog bites or hurts a person or another dog for the first time they are firstly declared “potentially dangerous” and in the instances where the bite penetrates skin, or if the dog chases, threatens, or otherwise behaves in a menacing way towards anyone having been unprovoked, then a district judge can have the final decision about the dog’s status.
Dogs that are actually declared to be “dangerous” can be repeat offenders in the cases they inflict severe harm or injury, unprovoked, to humans or other animals, or of course for killing another domestic animal or livestock.
The Councillors of the city didn’t comment at all before the ordinance was approved by the 23rd October.
Nelson-Gross had said that these provisions wouldn’t apply in the Sequim Dog Park, however, there are signs at the park that clearly state “enter at your own risk.”
The staff in the city also plan to add some signs indicating that the “dangerous dog” policy doesn’t apply to the park.
The residents of Sequim, specifically Terry and Ann Moore spoke about their incident in September with the three “potentially dangerous” dogs.
Terry Moore had previously reported to the police that he had been bitten outside his house on September 23rd by three pit bulls leading to eight stitches to his left arm and a rabies injection as the dog’s vaccinations were not up to date! The dogs were declared “dangerous” and destroyed.
Ann Moore told of her concerns about if a child was involved, instead of her husband, in the attacks and asked for a ban on pit bulls, as it ‘could’ have been fatal, she said:
“When it comes to protecting the life of a dog versus a human, it is best to err on the side of protecting human life”
“Let’s prohibit pit bulls. It’s time to put some teeth in our laws”
Some of the neighbours had a point of view also….
David Potter said that he wants to ban all pit bulls in the city limits. He and a friend were very cornered by the dogs given that he was only able to escape it by running into his backyard and closing the gate.
David has concerns that it could have easily been his children who were being chased, they were playing in his front yard not long before.
Debra Wilkie said that she was attacked with her dogs however the city must:
“…judge each dog on its own merit.”
“I am also very much in favour, if the owners have not done what the city has required them to do then they should be held responsible”
“I would go as far as criminal charges against them.”
Sequim Police said they were working out charges against the dog’s owners Collen Lowry and Michael Rensberger. They have been fined before too when their dogs were then declared “potentially dangerous” but that does not stop them from owning more dogs, said police officials.
Yet Another nearby resident, Ruth Marcus, said that she’s fearful to even walk by the dog’s home, however, she believes that:
“…dogs are what owners train them to be.”
She asked that the city requires “potentially dangerous” dog owners to have strong steel fencing that goes into the ground to stop the dogs escaping.
The updated ordinance/restrictions maintain that the dog owners must have a “proper enclosure.”
After city councillors approved the ban, Terry Moore stated that he’s “absolutely glad” that the city banned “dangerous dogs.”
Ann Moore said that the ban “wouldn’t have helped us because the dogs that bit Terry were ‘potentially dangerous’ dogs.”