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Clay attorney outlines possible changes to ‘vicious dog’ ordinance

By Gary Lloyd

Clay City Attorney Alan Summers said at a Clay City Council workshop Monday that there are good and not-so-good parts of the city’s recently approved “vicious dog” ordinance.

Summers said that after reading other cities’ ordinances, talking to attorneys and speaking with veterinarians, he believes a better wording for a section of the ordinance is “all vicious animals,” instead of language that focuses on a specific breed.

Summers said a few changes to the ordinance makes “pretty good sense.”

The council made mention of Center Point’s ordinance, a five-year old ordinance that bans pit bulls, and that city not having legal issues with residents in that time.

Summers also said it may be a good idea for the city to have its own leash law at some point in the future.

According to the June ordinance, existing pit bull dogs, or any of their variations, must be registered with the city, no new pits may be brought into the city, and any newborn pit puppies will need to be removed from the city limits within a certain amount of time.

City Manager said 15 to 18 pit bulls have been registered with the city since the ordinance took effect. He said that also since that time, two dogs in the city have been killed by pit bulls and three more injured by pit bulls. He said in one of those five cases, a dog climbed over a fence, and in another a dog was unleashed. He didn’t know the particulars of the other three instances.

These dog breeds must be confined indoors or kept in a locked, outside pen. If taken for a walk, the dogs must be leashed and muzzled at all times, according to the ordinance. Summers said that veterinarians suggested removing the section on muzzling dogs be changed, since that can lead to dogs suffering sun strokes.

Within 10 days of registration, owners must post “Beware of Dog” signs in easily seen locations on their property. Owners are also required to carry ,000 in public liability insurance for their pets. In case of the death of a pet, the birth of puppies or a change of address within the city limits, owners have 10 days to notify city officials.

Violators of this ordinance will face between 0 and 0 in fines as well as up to 30 days in jail.

Contact Gary Lloyd at and follow him on Twitter @GaryALloyd.

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