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(A) No person shall keep, shelter or harbor for any reason within the city a “vicious animal” so defined herein, except as otherwise provided in this chapter. Once an animal has been deemed a vicious animal, the animal shall not be removed from the city and transferred to another city.
(B) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, no person owning, possessing, harboring or having the care of a vicious dog shall permit such animal to go unconfined upon the premises unless the dog is securely leashed and muzzled.
(1) For the purpose of this section, a VICIOUS DOG means:
(a) Any animal whose behavior constitutes a physical threat of bodily harm to a person in a place where such person is conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully. For the purposes of this division (B), a person is peaceably and lawfully upon the private property of an owner or possessor of an animal when he or she is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed by the laws of the jurisdiction or when he or she is on such property upon invitation, express or implied;
(b) Any animal involved in an attack which requires defensive action by any person to prevent bodily injury and/or property damage in a place where such person is conducting himself or herself peacefully and lawfully;
(c) Any animal involved in an attack on another animal or livestock which occurs off the property of the owner of the attacking animal;
(d) Any animal which, in a threatening or terrorizing manner, in an attitude of attack, approaches any person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds;
(e) Any animal with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals;
(f) Any animal which has attacked a human being or a domestic animal on any occasion causing bodily injury or death;
(g) Any animal owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or any animal trained for fighting; and/or
(h) Any animal that has been trained, tormented, badgered, baited or used for the purpose of causing or encouraging the animal to attack humans or domestic animals.
(2) An animal shall not be deemed vicious if it bites, attacks or menaces:
(a) Anyone assaulting its owner;
(b) A trespasser on the property of its owner;
(c) A person who has tormented, teased, abused or assaulted it. If a minor was under the age of seven at the time the dog injured such minor, it shall be rebuttably presumed that the minor was not committing a trespass or other tort such as teasing, tormenting or abusing the dog; and
(d) In the defense of any human being within the immediate vicinity who was being attacked or assaulted.
(3) An animal shall not be deemed vicious if it is assisting a peace officer engaged in law enforcement duties.
(4) A vicious dog is UNCONFINED unless such dog is:
(a) Securely confined in a dwelling house. An animal is not securely confined in a house if it is kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or building that would allow the dog to exit such structure on its own volition. In addition, no such animal is securely confined in a house where the windows are open or when screened windows or screened doors are the only obstacles preventing the dog from exiting the structure and running at large;
(b) Securely enclosed in a locked pen or kennel, except when secured within a dwelling house or leashed and muzzled as provided below. The pen or kennel must have secure sides and a secure top. The walls must be at least six feet high. In the absence of a secure top, the walls must be at least six feet taller than any internal structure (such as a dog house);
(c) All pens or other structures used to confine vicious dogs must be locked with a key or combination lock when the animal is within the structure. The structure must have a secure bottom, floor or foundation. The sides must be buried no less than two feet into the ground and sunken into a concrete pad so as to prevent digging under the walls by the confined dog;
(d) All structures erected to house dogs must comply with all city zoning and building regulations. All such structures must be adequately lighted and ventilated and kept in a clean and sanitary condition; and/or
(e) No person shall permit a vicious dog to go outside its home, kennel or pen unless the dog is secured by a leash no longer than six feet in length. Both dog and leash must be under the physical control of a person 18 years of age or older with sufficient strength to prevent the dog’s escape. The dog may not be leashed or chained or tethered or otherwise tied to any inanimate object, such as a tree, post or building, outside of its pen, kennel or secured dwelling house.
(5) A vicious dog may not be required to be muzzled when shown in an American Kennel Club show or when securely confined in a private vehicle and inaccessible to persons other than those within the vehicle. A vicious dog will be required to be muzzled in the above mentioned circumstances when a person, who is in the presence of the vicious dog, is concerned about his or her safety and requests the owner place a muzzle on the vicious dog.
(6) An application to license a vicious dog must include:
(a) An insurance policy or a certificate of insurance issued by an insurance company licensed to do business in the state, providing personal liability insurance coverage as in a homeowner’s policy, with a minimum liability amount, set by resolution approved by the City Council, for the injury or death of any person, for damage to property of others and for acts of negligence by the owner or agent of the owner in the negligent keeping of such vicious dog;
(b) Posting a bond for the amount, set buy resolution approved by the City Council, may be used as an alternative to insurance mentioned in division (B)(6)(a) above. Any association or corporation, whose primary business is the insuring of the fidelity of others, and which has the authority to do business in the state, shall be acceptable as security on the aforementioned bond. All bonds, when duly executed, shall be filed with the Clerk;
(c) The insurance policy or certificate of insurance or posting of a bond referred to in this section shall provide that it cannot be canceled or terminated until ten days’ notice by registered mail of such cancellation or termination has been received by the City Manager or designee; and
(d) The cancellation or other termination of any insurance policy or bond issued in compliance with this division (B) shall automatically revoke and terminate the license issued for a vicious dog unless another policy or bond complying with this section is provided and in effect at the time of such cancellation or termination. The City Manager or designee shall immediately issue written notification of the revocation of said certificate and any license issued as aforesaid.
(7) Any owner failing to comply with the provisions of this chapter after it has been determined that said owner’s dog is vicious under this section is guilty of a misdemeanor. See Chapter 11 entitled “Municipal Infractions.”
(8) The following procedure will be followed by the city when it has received a complaint about a dog or when the animal control officer or other law enforcement official has personally seen a dog which is acting in a manner which might conform with the description of a vicious dog in division (B)(1) above.
(a) The dog will be picked up and impounded. The owner shall pay all costs of this confinement.
(b) The Police Chief or the animal control officer shall devise or cause to be devised a list of people qualified and willing to sit upon a hearing panel for the purpose of determining whether a dog should be labeled vicious under the structures of this section. People qualified to serve on this panel are licensed veterinarians, the city’s animal control officer, qualified dog breeders with not less than ten years’ experience as active breeders and qualified obedience instructors with not less than ten years’ experience in American Kennel Club recognized obedience clubs. From this pool, three people shall be chosen to act as the jury in an official hearing to be conducted to determine the disposition of an impounded dog.
(c) The official conducting the hearing shall notify the owner of the impounded dog of the hearing and its purpose by personal service or registered mail. The hearing shall be held no sooner than five days and no later than ten days after the owner is given notice.
(d) If an owner is notified of a hearing and no reply is received within ten days, the dog will be humanely destroyed or otherwise disposed of in accordance with state law.
(e) During the hearing, both the owner and the person charging the dog shall have opportunity to present evidence both written and oral and to be represented by legal counsel. The panel, after hearing the evidence, shall declare a dog vicious if it finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the dog meets any of the definitions of a vicious dog as laid out in division (A)(1) above.
(f) The panel shall have the right to pronounce judgment and require the dog to be impounded until the owner complies with divisions (B)(6)(a) through (B)(6)(c) above, and a failure by the owner to comply within 20 days shall cause the procedures for euthanasia to be carried out.
(9) Apprehension and impoundment of vicious dogs shall include:
(a) If the owner has previously complied with this section and the dog has nonetheless caused injury to either person or property, the panel may require euthanasia to be carried out on the vicious dog;
(b) The order of the panel may be appealed to the Council. In order to appeal, written notice must be filed with the Clerk within three days after receipt of the order of the panel. Failure to file such written notice of appeal shall constitute a waiver of the right to appeal the order of the panel;
(c) The notice of appeal shall state the grounds for such appeal and shall be delivered personally or by certified mail to the Clerk. The hearing of such appeal shall be scheduled within 14 days of the receipt of notice of appeal. The hearing may be continued for good cause. The hearing shall be confined to the record made before the panel and no additional evidence shall be taken. After such hearing, the Council may affirm or reverse the order of the panel. Such determination shall be contained in a written decision and shall be filed with the Clerk within three days after the hearing. A copy of the written decision shall also be sent by certified mail to the dog’s owner or the owner’s designated legal representative;
(d) The order of the Council may be appealed within 20 days after the receipt of the written order by the dog’s owner or the owner’s legal representative, to the District Court in accordance with the Iowa Rules of Civil Procedure. Failure to file such appeal shall constitute a waiver of the right to appeal the order of the Council; and
(e) During the process of appeal, the dog will be kept impounded by the city at the expense of the owner or the owner may redeem the dog by complying with the confinement and insurance provisions of this section.
(Ord. 2012-02, passed 2-7-2012; Ord. 2012-03, passed - -2012) Penalty, see § 90.99