§ 618.25  HEARINGS FOR DOG DESIGNATION.
   (a)   In accordance with R.C. § 955.222, Middletown Municipal Court, having territorial jurisdiction over the City, shall conduct any hearing concerning the designation of the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog.
   (b)   If the person who is authorized to enforce this chapter has reasonable cause to believe a dog in the person's jurisdiction is a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, the person shall notify the owner, keeper, or harborer of that dog, by certified mail or in person, of the following:
      (1)   That the person has designated the dog a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, as applicable;
      (2)   That the owner, keeper, or harborer of that dog may request a hearing regarding the designation in accordance with this section. The notice shall include instructions for filing a request for a hearing in Middletown Municipal Court.
   (c)   (1)   If the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog disagrees with the designation of the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, as applicable, the owner, keeper, or harborer may request a hearing regarding the determination. The request for hearing must be made no later than ten days after the owner, keeper, or harborer received notification of the designation. The request shall be in writing and shall be filed with Middletown Municipal Court.  At the hearing, the person who designated the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the dog is a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog.
      (2)   The owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog or the person who designated the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog may appeal the court's final determination as in any other case filed in Middletown Municipal Court.
   (d)   The court, upon motion of any owner, keeper, or harborer or an attorney representing the owner, keeper, or harborer, may order that the dog designated as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog be held in the possession of the owner, keeper, or harborer until the court makes a final determination under this section, or during the pendency of an appeal.  Until the court makes a final determination and during the pendency of any appeal, the dog shall be confined or restrained in accordance with the provisions of § 618.17(c) that apply to dangerous dogs regardless of whether the dog has been designated as a nuisance dog or a vicious dog, rather than a dangerous dog.  The owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog shall not be required to comply with any other requirements established in this chapter that concern a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog until the Court makes a final determination and during the pendency of any appeal.
   (e)   If a dog is finally determined under this section, or on appeal as described in this section, to be a vicious dog, § 618.17(c), (d) and (g) apply with respect to the dog and the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog as if the dog were a dangerous dog. Division (D) of R.C. § 955.11, division (I) of R.C. § 955.22, and R.C. § 955.54 apply with respect to the dog as if it were a dangerous dog, and the court shall issue an order that specifies that those provisions apply with respect to the dog and the owner, keeper, or harborer in that manner. As part of the order, the court shall require the owner, keeper, or harborer to obtain liability insurance as required under § 618.17(e).
   (f)   As used in this section, NUISANCE DOG, DANGEROUS DOG, and VICIOUS DOG have the same meanings as in § 618.17.
(Ord. O2019-08, passed 3-5-2019)