§ 618.17  NUISANCE, DANGEROUS, AND VICIOUS DOGS.
   (a)   (1)   In support of this section, City Council makes the following legislative finding:  Even though most dogs are harmless, as a result of breeding, training or abuse, some dogs pose a threat to human health and safety.
      (2)   Based upon this finding, and in order to protect the public from a serious threat to its health, safety and welfare, City Council hereby exercises its power to control dogs which pose a special risk to the public.
   (b)   For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall have the meanings ascribed to them herein, unless a different meaning is clearly indicated by the context.
      (1)   ANIMAL SHELTER.  Include only a shelter operated by an incorporated humane society or a registered non-profit foundation.
      (2)   A.   DANGEROUS DOG.  A dog that, without provocation, and subject to subsection (b)(2)B. herein, has done any of the following:
            1.   Caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person;
            2.   Killed another dog;
            3.   Been the subject of a third or subsequent violation of § 618.01(f) or of R.C. § 955.22(c).
         B.   DANGEROUS DOG does not include a police dog that caused injury, other than killing or serious injury, to any person or has killed another dog while the police dog is being used to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
      (3)   MENACING FASHION. A dog that would cause any person being chased or approached to reasonably believe that the dog will cause physical injury to that person.
      (4)   A.   NUISANCE DOG.  A dog that, without provocation and while off the premises of its owner, keeper, or harborer, has chased or approached a person in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger any person.
         B.   NUISANCE DOG.  Does not include a police dog that has chased or approached in either a menacing fashion or an apparent attitude of attack or has attempted to bite or otherwise endanger a person while the police dog is being used to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
      (5)   POLICE DOG. A dog that has been trained and may be used to assist one or more law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties.
      (6)   REGISTER or A REGISTRATION.  Registration as required by § 618.08(a) of the Middletown Codified Ordinances and Ohio R.C. 955.01.
      (7)   VETERINARY CLINIC.  A legal entity with validly licensed veterinarians(s) under Ohio R.C. Chapter 4741 that maintains custody of the dog for the purpose of providing medical treatment.
      (8)   VICIOUS DOG.
         A.   A dog that, without provocation and subject to subsection B. of this definition, has killed or caused serious injury to any person.
         B.   VICIOUS DOG does not include either of the following:
            1.   A police dog that has killed or caused serious injury to any person while the police dog is being used to assist law enforcement officers in the performance of their official duties;
            2.   A dog that has killed or caused serious injury to any person while a person was committing or attempting to commit a trespass or other criminal offense on the property of the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog.
      (9)   WITHOUT PROVOCATION. A dog acts WITHOUT PROVOCATION when it was not teased, tormented, or abused by a person, or it was not coming to the aid or the defense of a person who was not engaged in illegal or criminal activity and who was not using the dog as a means of carrying out such activity.
   (c)   Except when lawfully engaged in hunting or training for the purpose of hunting and is accompanied by the owner, keeper, harborer, or handler of the dog, no owner, keeper, or harborer of a dangerous dog shall fail to do either of the following:
      (1)   While that dog is on the premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, securely confine it at all times in a locked pen that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure that has a top;
      (2)   While that dog is off premises of the owner, keeper, or harborer, keep that dog on a chain-link leash or tether that is not more than six feet in length and additionally do at least one of the following:
         A.   Keep that dog in a locked pen that has a top, locked fenced yard, or other locked enclosure that has a top;
         B.   Have the leash or tether controlled by a person who is of suitable age and discretion or securely attach, tie, or affix the leash or tether to the ground or stationary object or fixture so that the dog is adequately restrained and station such a person in close enough proximity to the dog so as to prevent it from causing injury to any person;
         C.   Muzzle the dog.
   (d)   No person who has been convicted of or pleaded guilty to three or more violations of § 618.01(f) or of R.C. § 955.22(c) involving the same dog, and no owner, keeper, or harborer of a dangerous dog shall fail to do the following:
      (1)   Obtain liability insurance with an insurer authorized to write liability insurance in this state providing coverage in each occurrence because of damage or bodily injury to or death of a person caused by the dangerous dog if so ordered by a court and provide proof of that liability insurance upon request to any law enforcement officer, county dog warden, or public health official charged with enforcing this section;
      (2)   Obtain a dangerous dog registration certificate from the county auditor pursuant to division (I) of R.C. § 955.22, affix a tag that identifies the dog as a dangerous dog to the dog's collar, and ensure that the dog wears the collar and tag at all times;
      (3)   Notify the local dog warden immediately if any of the following occurs:
         A.   The dog is loose or unconfined;
         B.   The dog bites a person, unless the dog is on the property of the owner of the dog, and the person who is bitten is unlawfully trespassing or committing a criminal act within the boundaries of that property;
         C.   The dog attacks another animal while the dog is off the property of the owner of the dog.
      (4)   If the dog is sold, given to another person, or dies, notify the county auditor within ten days of the sale, transfer, or death.
   (e)   No owner, keeper, or harborer of a vicious dog, as that term is defined in this Chapter and as determined to be so in accordance with this Chapter, shall fail to obtain liability insurance with an insurer authorized to write liability insurance in this state providing coverage in each occurrence, subject to a limit, exclusive of interest and costs, of not less than one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) because of damage or bodily injury to or death of a person caused by the vicious dog.
   (f)   (1)   Any person who violates § 618.17(c) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree on the first offense, and of a misdemeanor of the third degree on each subsequent offense. Additionally, the court may order the offender to personally supervise the dangerous dog that the offender owns, keeps, or harbors, to cause that dog to complete dog obedience training. or to do both, and the court may order the offender to obtain liability insurance pursuant to subsection (d) of this section. The court, in the alternative, may order the dangerous dog to be humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian, the county dog warden, the county humane society, an animal control officer or a police officer certified in euthanasia.
      (2)   Whoever violates § 618.17(d)(1), (d)(3), or (d)(4) is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.  Whoever violates § 618.17(d)(2) is guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.
      (3)   Whoever violates § 618.17(e) is guilty of a minor misdemeanor.
      (4)   Whoever violates § 618.17(f) shall be guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree. Additionally, the court shall cause the offender to surrender the dogs exceeding the limit imposed by § 618.17(f) to the City, which may cause the dog(s) to be humanely destroyed, or to provide sufficient evidence to the court that all dogs exceeding the limit have been transferred to the ownership or control of another person, have been placed with an animal shelter, or have been humanely destroyed by a licensed veterinarian.
      (5)   Notwithstanding the penalties imposed in this subsection (g), a court shall order, in addition to any other sentence that it imposes on the offender, that the offender shall pay all costs and expenses, including shelter, food, boarding and veterinary expenses necessitated by the seizure of the dog; such other expenses as may be required for the destruction or relocation of the dog; and any expenses related to other orders of the court regarding the dog.
(Ord. O2005-44, passed 5-3-2005; Am. Ord. O2007-19, passed 3-6-2007; Am. Ord. O2019-08, passed 3-5-2019)