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(A) After an investigation, the Police Chief or his or her designee is authorized to determine whether a dog is vicious based on the factors listed in § 90.51 of this chapter, and shall notify the owner of the dog in writing by certified mail or hand delivery with signature of that status.
(B) (1) Following attempted notice to the owner, if the Police Chief or his or her designee has probable cause to believe that a dog is a vicious dog and may pose a threat to public safety, the Police Department may obtain a search warrant pursuant to this jurisdiction’s rules of civil procedure and impound the dog pending disposition of the case.
(2) The owner of the dog will be liable for the costs of impounding and keeping the dog.
(C) (1) The owner may request a hearing before a review committee by sending a written notice to the City Clerk within five days after the date of notice from the city of the determination of a vicious dog. Upon receipt of a request for hearing, the review committee shall schedule a hearing concerning the determination of a vicious dog to be held within 30 days after receipt by the city of the request for hearing. The determination regarding a vicious dog shall be stayed pending the results of the hearing.
(2) If the owner timely requests a hearing before the review committee pursuant to § 90.53(C)(1), such hearing shall follow the following procedures:
(a) A hearing officer appointed by the review committee shall impartially preside over the hearing.
(b) Each case before the hearing officer shall be presented by the Police Chief or his or her designee who will have the burden of presenting evidence that the dog is a vicious dog and should be classified as such. If the evidence indicates that the dog is vicious, the burden is on the owner to present evidence that the dog is not vicious. At the hearing, the Chief of Police or his or her designee may call witnesses, cross examine witnesses, present evidence, and examine evidence.
(c) All testimony shall be under oath and shall be recorded. The hearing officer shall hear testimony from the animal control officer, the owner of the dog, and any witnesses for either side. Formal rules of evidence shall not apply, but fundamental due process shall be observed and shall govern the proceedings.
(d) At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer shall issue findings of fact, based on evidence of record and conclusions of law, and shall issue an order classifying a dog as vicious, or an order stating that there's insufficient cause to declare the dog as vicious. A decision by the review committee overturning the determination shall not affect the city's right to later declare a dog to be a vicious dog, or to determine that the dog poses a threat to public safety, for the dog's subsequent behavior.
(e) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a hearing officer from taking a case under advisement or continuing a hearing in the interest of justice.
(Ord. 2239, passed 11-4-2014; Ord. 2280, passed 1-4-2017; Ord. 2426, passed 3-20-2023)