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The following terms, when used in this Chapter, shall have the meanings set forth in this section:
(a) “Aggressive dog” shall mean a dog that exhibits menacing behavior on public or private property, including that of its owner or keeper. Menacing behavior shall include, but not be limited to: charging, scratching, toppling, teeth-baring, snapping, growling, or other predatory mannerisms, directed at a person or other animal in a place where the person or other animal is legally entitled to be.
(b) “Animal” means one or more of a kingdom of living beings (except humans) differing from plants in capacity for spontaneous movement and rapid motor response to stimulation, including birds.
(c) “Animal control officer” means any person designated by the City to enforce the provisions of this chapter, including but not limited to, Ionia County animal control officers.
(d) “City” means the City of Ionia and/or its duly elected City Council.
(e) “Cruelty” means the inhumane neglect, abuse, torture, infliction of pain or suffering, beating, underfeeding, overloading, training or using for fighting or baiting, or abandoning of any animal.
(f) “Dangerous dog” shall mean a dog that bites or otherwise causes serious injury to a person or other animal on public or private property where the injured person or other animal is legally entitled to be, including the property of the animal's owner or custodian. A dog that is intentionally trained or conditioned to fight or guard, except for dogs trained for law enforcement or service purposes while engaged in the activities for which they were trained, shall be considered a dangerous dog.
(g) “Dog” shall include the male and female of the dog family or genus canis.
(h) “Domesticated animal” means any of the various animals domesticated by humans so as to live and breed in a tame condition.
(i) “Exotic animals” means, generally, the species of animals which are not native to the State or the United States and/or introduced from another country.
(j) “Hybrid(s)” means any animal which is the offspring of two different varieties or species.
(k) “Nuisance dog” shall mean a dog running at large, on public or private property other than that of its owner or keeper, whose behavior constitutes a nuisance. Nuisance behavior shall include, but not be limited to:
(1) Making physical contact with a person or other animal in a harassing manner;
(2) Barking; or
(3) Damaging inanimate personal property.
(l) “Owner or possessor” means any adult person who either has right of property in any animal, or who has an animal in his care or custody, or who knowingly permits an animal to remain on or about any premises occupied or controlled by him.
(m) “Ownership” when applied to proprietorship of a dog, shall include every person having a right of property in such dog, every person who keeps or harbors such dog or has it in his or her care, and every person who permits such dog to remain in or about any premises occupied by him or her.
(n) “Person” means an adult human being aged eighteen years or over.
(o) “Poisonous” means a substance which, through its chemical action, usually kills, injures or substantially impairs an organism.
(p) “Possess or maintain” means the act or ability of having or exerting control and influence over an animal regulated herein, without regard to ownership.
(q) “Reasonable control” means keeping a dog on a suitable leash and under the control of the owner or custodian or some other person with the permission of the owner or custodian in all cases other than while upon private property, unless the dog is confined in a closed automobile or shipping receptacle.
(r) “Running at large in the City” is defined as not being under the reasonable control of the animal's owner or person in charge and not having a leash attached to the animal, the length of which prevents the animal from reaching or going on to another property.
(s) “Unclean housing” means unclean or unwholesome to an extent that it becomes cruelty to the animal or becomes a health problem or a nuisance to abutting residences.
(t) “Unconfined” means running at large or uncontained or unrestricted by leash, the length of which prevents the animal from reaching or going on to another property.
Exceptions: A dog shall not be considered a “Nuisance”, “Aggressive” or “Dangerous dog” where its act is caused by (a) an illness or injury suffered by the dog at the time of the act; (b) the negligent or reckless conduct of any person to whom the act is directed; (c) lawful hunting while the dog is under the control of its owner or custodian; or (d) defense of the dog's owner, or members of the owner's family or household, or their property.
(Ord. 491. Passed 2-7-12.)