Officials: Vicious dog law changes, training needed

Published: Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 4:33 PM
Updated: Thursday, September 11, 2014 @ 4:33 PM

The county prosecutor and a county commissioner are proposing changes to the state's vicious dog law and penalties.

The announcement from Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. and Commissioner Dan Foley came Thursday, the same day a Montgomery County grand jury did not issue a felony indictment in the February dog mauling death of Klonda Richey."These initiatives are designed to increase responsible dog ownership and reduce the chances of something like this happening again," Foley stated in the release.

Following Richey's death by two of her neighbor's dogs in the morning of Feb. 7, it was reported that Richey had made numerous complaints about the animals.

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"There was no evidence that the dogs had ever bitten or attacked another animal or human. The dogs were never designated as nuisance, dangerous or vicious dogs prior to the incident. After consideration of all the testimony and evidence, the grand jury did not issue a homicide or felony indictment in this case," according to the news release.

According to news release, the grand jury heard from 18 people, including the victim's friends, contract workers, neighbors, police officers, the coroner, a veterinarian and other experts.

Now, the prosecutor's office and Dayton Police Department are working with the city prosecutor's office to consider charges under the city's ordinances, Heck and Foley stated.

They also are offering a training seminar next month for local law enforcement, animal shelter workers and local prosecutors to improve the response and investigation of animal complaints.

Heck and Foley also are proposing that state legislators amend the current law so that:

  • The definition of a nuisance, dangerous or vicious dog be changed to remove the "without provocation" language from the statutes.
  • To include in the designations, dogs that cause injury or death to any companion animal, not just another dog.
  • Create a new registry for dogs classified as nuisance, dangerous or vicious that catalogs complaints and is accessible to local law enforcement, dog wardens and humane society agencies across the state.
  • Provide new fines and other criminal penalties for those dog owners who willfully evade service of complaints made against their dogs.
  • Add new criminal penalties for anyone who owns or keeps a dog that kills or causes serious physical harm to another person.
"It is my hope that further review for possible charges under the city of Dayton ordinances, along with possibly amending some laws, and enhanced training, will make a difference and help to avoid another such tragic accident," Heck stated.