County mulls ban on dangerous dogs

Published: Monday, January 23, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 22, 2006 at 11:09 p.m.
Dogs that are declared dangerous will be banned from Alachua County under an ordinance set to be considered by the County Commission Tuesday.
The ordinance would force owners to either find a home for the dog outside the county or have it euthanized, said Animal Services Director Ray Sim.
"A lot of the comments I have been getting have been positive and supportive, particularly when people understand we are not talking about anything specific to one breed," Sim said.
The county uses state laws to define a dangerous dog based on four criteria, any one of which can trigger the designation:
  • A dog that has aggressively bitten, attacked, endangered or inflicted severe injury on a person on public or private property.
  • A dog that has more than once severely injured to killed a domestic animal while off its owner's property.
  • A dog used for dog fighting or trained for fighting.
  • A dog that has, when unprovoked, chased or approached a person on any public grounds in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack.
    Incidents are reviewed by Animal Services investigators, who can then declare the dog dangerous. The owner has several avenues of appeal.
    Under current ordinances, owners of dangerous dogs must sterilize the dog, keep it enclosed at home, pay an annual registration and place warning signs at the home.
    Sim said those measures have not done enough to prevent repeat problems, so the ban is proposed.
    Florida law prohibits breed-specific bans.
    The County Commission will consider the ordinance Tuesday. The meeting starts at 5 p.m.
    Cindy Swirko can be reached at (352) 374-5024 or swirkoc@
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