The City of Camdenton could see a change in animal ordinances dealing with dangerous dogs and Pit Bull breeds. The Board of Aldermen is taking a serious look at its animal ordinance. During the board’s most recent meeting, the city’s attorney presented the board with a new sample ordinance.

The City of Camdenton could see a change in animal ordinances dealing with dangerous dogs and Pit Bull breeds. The Board of Aldermen is taking a serious look at its animal ordinance. During the board’s most recent meeting, the city’s attorney presented the board with a new sample ordinance.

Currently, the city has a Vicious Animal ordinance and a separate ordinance not allowing Pit Bulls or any breeds that match five of eight items on a checklist of characteristics.

The current ordinance states that an animal may be considered vicious if the animal has inflicted a severe or fatal injury on a human being. "Severe injury" is defined as any physical injury, resulting directly from a dog's bite, which results in broken bones, lacerations requiring stitches, or inpatient hospitalization; or has killed a domestic animal, livestock, or poultry without provocation, while off the owner's property. If an animal has been owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of fighting or kept for the purpose of fighting; or has bitten a human being, without provocation, on public or private property other than the property of the owner it could also be considered vicious. The ordinance also states that while on the owner's property, if the animal has bitten, without provocation, any human being it would fall under the qualification of being a vicious animal. However, an animal shall not be considered vicious for biting its owner or a member of the owner's immediate family who is over the age of eighteen (18) years. When unprovoked, if the animal chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public grounds, or private property other than that property of the owner, in a menacing fashion or apparent attitudes of attack regardless of whether or not a person is injured by said animal; or if the animal has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals, it will be considered vicious.

In a separate section of the animal ordinance, the city has an ordinance stating that Pit Bulls are not allowed.

The ordinance states, “It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, care for, own or possess in any way a pit bull dog within the municipal limits of the City of Camdenton. A pit bull may be identified as any dog which exhibits those distinguishing characteristics that substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club or United Kennel Club as described in the identification checklist which is on file in the City offices. Such identification by City personnel using the above standards shall be prima facie proof and shall create a rebuttable presumption that a dog is a pit bull. Such presumption may be rebutted in Municipal Court actions for violations of this Section only upon ample proof offered by the defendant in such action.”

A Pit Bull is defined as a Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog, the American pit bull terrier breed of dog, the American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog; any mixed breed of dog which contains as an element of its breeding the breed of Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, or American pit bull terrier, or any dog which has the appearance and characteristics of being predominantly of the breeds of Staffordshire bull terrier, American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier; and other breeds commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs, or pit bull terriers, or a combination of any of these breeds.

Under the sample ordinance being examined by the board of aldermen, a potentially dangerous dog clause includes a dog that causes harm without provocation, acts in a dangerous manner, has been declared dangerous, is a Pit Bull or is designated as dangerous.

The sample ordinance goes on to state, “Any dog designated as a potentially dangerous dog shall not be allowed to remain in the City until the owner complies with the requirements of this section or during any pending appeal of such designation.”

The sample ordinance includes sections on minimum care for dogs, licensing and fees and other items pertaining to animals in the city limits but does not have a section designated to only Pit Bulls.

The ordinance is simply a foundation for the board. Nothing has officially been proposed as an ordinance. Aldermen were given the information at their latest meeting held on Dec. 16.

“I do not think there is anything in there that is absolute,” Mayor John McNabb said.

McNabb also said that the sample ordinance is a combination of what the city currently has in place.

Since two members of the board were not present, discussion on the animal ordinance has been tabled until the board’s next meeting.