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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Pleasanton council approves dangerous dog ordinance

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

PLEASANTON – Nearly six months after a Pleasanton resident came to the Pleasanton City Council with a horrifying story of how his small, dachshund-mix dog had been maliciously attacked in his families yard by another dog, the city now has an ordinance aimed at preventing similar attacks.

The council unanimously approved the ordinance on Tuesday, May 30, that updated the existing dog ordinance. The new ordinance defines what constitutes a dangerous dog and what procedures that city animal-control officers and judges can follow in making that determination.

Under the new ordinance, once the municipal judge determines that the dog is dangerous, he or she can require that the dog be registered as such, be confined in a secured area, and muzzled on a 4-foot leash when outside of that area for veterinary care.

The judge can also order that the dog be spayed or neutered, that warning signs be posted, and that the owner procure liability insurance that will cover at least $100,000 in damages.

The ordinance spells out the penalty for violation of the ordinance, including a $250 fine plus impoundment costs for the first offense if the dog is found to be running at large. If the dog is found running at large for a second time within a 24-month period, the fine is $500 plus impoundment costs and the dog may be disposed of by the animal control officer after 10 days.

If the dog attacks a human, including biting or killing, the owner will pay a $500 fine and after a 10-business-day waiting period, the dog will be euthanized.

If it attacks another animal, the owner will pay a $250 fine and after 10 business days the dog will be euthanized.

The judge has no authority to suspend or reduce the fines.

If the owner believes the dog has been impounded unfairly, he or she can petition the municipal court for the dogs release if the court determines that there has not been a violation. However the owner will still be responsible for impoundment costs.

The judge also has the authority to sentence violators to a maximum six months in jail and restrict the owner from keeping dogs for at least six months.

In December after hearing the story about the vicious dog attack, City Attorney Burton Harding told the man who complained that the then year-old vicious dog city ordinance allowed the city to confiscate the dangerous animal. However, since the dangerous dog that was euthanized after the attack, there was no other recourse.

The amendment passed by the council last week gives the city more authority in dealing with the owners of the dogs that meet the standards of being dangerous.

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