WESTMINSTER : Emergency Dog Law on Council Docket

The City Council on Tuesday will consider an emergency ordinance to deal with vicious dogs.

The ordinance would establish a three-member review board made up of residents at large and a veterinarian appointed for four-year terms. The board, through a hearing, would determine whether a dog involved in an unprovoked attack is potentially vicious. If so, the dog could be destroyed.

The ordinance also establishes fines of up to $1,000 to be levied against owners who do not keep potentially dangerous dogs in a securely fenced yard or on a leash.

Not included in the proposed ordinance is a requirement that owners of potentially dangerous dogs obtain $200,000 in liability insurance. That idea was suggested by some council members at their Feb. 27 meeting.

The ordinance was prompted by the Feb. 2 mauling of 6-year-old Jeffery Kerley, who was attacked by a pair of 100-pound Rottweilers as he played with a friend near his home in the 7700 block of 19th Street. He received 75 stitches after the attack. The dogs were returned to their owner after a 10-day quarantine.

Jeffery's parents, Noble and Debora Kerley, and several of their neighbors have urged the council to take swift action by creating stiffer city laws against potentially vicious dogs and their owners.

If the ordinance is not passed on an emergency basis, it will come back to the council for a second reading March 27 and become effective 30 days later.

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