Dog sought in biting incident
According to a press release from the Washington Communications Center on Friday, Oct. 18, there was a report of a person being bitten by a dog.
The incident occurred at C Avenue and West Madison Street at 8:40 p.m., the press release said. The dog is described as a brown pit bull type.
Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman said the dog severely bit a 14-year-old girl on her lip. He said the dog is still at large and is considered to be a stray dog.
“We have not located the dog,” Goodman said. “It may be difficult to identify the dog at this point.”
He said as a department his officers and he would have to start looking into the city’s dog ordinance.
“There are a large number of people who don’t secure their dogs or have them under control,” Goodman said. “They need to be on a chain, leash, have an electronic fence, or in a pen in their yard.”
Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said there is no code that requires dogs to be licensed at this time. He sent The Journal a copy of the current animal ordinance, which was accepted in September 2012.
According to the City of Washington’s Code 55 an “at large” animal is defined as being off of the owner’s premises and not under control of a person, whether it is by leash or electronic device, restrained in a motor vehicle, or housed in a veterinary hospital or kennel.
A “dangerous animal” is defined in the code as being not naturally tame or gentle and having a wild nature or disposition. The animal could be capable of killing, causing serious injury or causing disease among human beings or domestic animals, and having been known to do so.
In the animal ordinance a “vicious dog” is defined as being any dog that has attacked a human being or another domestic animal one or more times without provocation; any dog with a history, tendency, or disposition to attack, cause injury or to otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals; any dog that snaps, bites, or has the disposition to do so; and any dog that has been trained for dog fighting, animal fighting, animal baiting, or is owned or kept for such purposes.
The code states that the city council has the right to define an animal as “dangerous” or a dog as “vicious.” If the owner wants to argue about their animal being defined as “dangerous” or “vicious,” a hearing may be conducted by the city council. The owner will be given 72 hours written notice of the time and place of the hearing. The notice will be served to the owner or posted on the property where the animal is located.
If an animal has bitten someone and doesn’t have proper vaccination records, the dog is taken into custody, Goodman said. It is quarantined for 10 days. This leaves the boarding expenses to the owner, Goodman said.
Goodman has advice for people who come across loose dogs or dogs that come out of their yard because they aren’t properly restrained.
“I would stay away from them,” he said. “People don’t know these dogs and their dispositions.”
Anyone with any information about the dog described in the incident is asked to call the Washington Communications Center at 653-2107 or the Washington Police Department at 653-2256.