A tougher and better defined dangerous dog ordinance was put in place by the Bellevue City Council recently.
Council members considered the old “vicious animal” ordinance to be too broad.
Councilwoman Carol Blood, who guided the new ordinance to passage, said the old law lacked specific definitions and did not adequately spell out measures to be taken once a dog was declared vicious.
The new ordinance creates two categories: dangerous dogs and potentially dangerous dogs.
A dangerous dog is described as one that:
Ÿ without provocation kills a human.
Ÿ without provocation inflicts injury on a human requiring medical treatment.
Ÿ kills a domestic animal without provocation.
Ÿ without provocation, attacks a human being or domestic animal.
An owner found to possess a dangerous dog must:
Ÿ spay or neuter the dog, microchip it, and buy a special license.
Ÿ carry a $500,000 liability insurance policy.
Ÿ attend a responsible pet ownership and dog behavior class.
Ÿ ensure that the dog must be harnessed, muzzled and walked on a leash by someone 19 or older.
Ÿ post a warning sign and ensure the animal is safely confined on the owner's property.
A potentially dangerous dog is described as one that:
Ÿ when unprovoked, bites a human not requiring medical treatment
Ÿ when unprovoked, injures a domestic animal
Ÿ approaches a person in a menancing manner
An owner found to possess a potentially dangerous dog must fulfill the same requirements as owners of dangerous dogs, but a sign need not be erected.
Blood said the new ordinance is designed not just to protect the public but also to protect dogs, who often fall victim to bad care.
“On a personal level, I think there are no bad dogs, just bad pet owners,” Blood said. “The new ordinance holds irresponsible pet owners responsible for their actions.”