Council members will take up a proposed ordinance at the next meeting on Monday, October 15th, 2012. The ordinance would define a vicious dog as one that without provocation severely injures or kills a person or other animal. Owners of vicious dogs would be required to keep them locked up or muzzled when out.
While Sonoma does not have a history of vicious dogs or attacks, Mayor Joanne Sanders* sparked a negative response last year when she stated publicly that she would support an outright ban on pit bulls after the death of a pit bull owner in Pacifica.
*Sanders has chosen not to pursue a 3rd term as Mayor
Sanders asked city staff to review Sonoma’s current animal ordinance and draft a new ordinance that residents would support.
The new draft requires that owners of potentially dangerous or vicious dogs would have to obtain liability insurance and show proof they could pay damages up to $50,000. Bob Edward, President of Sonoma Valley Dog Owners and Guardians said that his group supports the proposed changes, adding that the new ordinance provides due process for owners. “The current ordinance doesn’t even provide for a hearing,” he said. “Whoever decides the dog is vicious is the decider.”