Lake Saint Louis, MO: Breed may be considered when designating “dangerous” dog

Lake Saint Louis, MO, believes its current dangerous dog ordinance is “too soft and unenforceable.”

The ordinance currently defines a dangerous dog as: any animal which, without justification, attacks a person or domestic animal causing physical injury or death or behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death to one (1) or more persons or domestic animals.  In reference to dogs, a dog’s breed shall not be considered in determining whether or not it is “dangerous.”

The city council has proposed changing the last sentence to “In reference to dogs, a dog’s breed shall not be the only consideration in determining whether or not it is ‘dangerous.'” (Another councilmember suggests to replace “shall” with “may.”)

So, how does this change make the ordinance any less “soft and unenforceable”? We’d like to know the answer to that, too.

There are many facts that an animal control officer (ACO) could consider when determining a dangerous dog, such as the dog’s weight, height, sex; whether or not it is neutered; how it has been trained by the owner; whether or not it is being contained; whether or not it is being misused, neglected, or abused; whether or not it has all it shots; whether or not it has a bite history; and so forth.

But to allow an ACO or a judge to make a subjective guess about a dog’s breed, and then to factor in his or her opinions and stereotypes about that breed and the type of people that own it, in order to determine whether or not a dog is dangerous… Does that sound like a fair and enforceable ordinance to you?

Express your concerns to Lake Saint Louis officials.
City of Lake Saint Louis, 200 Civic Center Drive, Lake Saint Louis, MO 63367
Phone:(636) 625 1200
mpotter@lakesaintlouis.com; rsidebottom@lakesaintlouis.com;  ldegroodt@lakesaintlouis.com; kschweikert@lakesaintlouis.com; kvennard@lakesaintlouis.com; jpellerito@lakesaintlouis.com; grich@lakesaintlouis.com; pmarkworth@lakesaintlouis.com; ddaniel@lakesaintlouis.com; mforce@lakesaintlouis.com

Lake Saint Louis city council meets on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month. Next council meeting: Nov 21.

Board Seeks To ‘Put Some Teeth’ Into Vicious Animal Ordinance

One alderman believes that Lake Saint Louis’ dangerous dog ordinance is “too soft and not enforceable.”

By Tamara Duncan
November 8, 2011

[…] Alderman Karen Vennard expressed concern about how a dog’s breed would be taken into consideration in evaluating a dangerous dog.

[Police Chief Mike] Force said that the wording about the breed of dog would be changed. “We changed it from ‘shall not be considered’ to ‘shall not be the only consideration’,” he said. […]

Vennard also expressed her concerns about enforcement. “Is this truly going to solve the issue? How do we enforce this short of getting a dog catcher?” […]

The board agreed to refer the proposed ordinance to the prosecutor for advice about the wording.

Full article retrieved 11/9/11 from http://lakesaintlouis.patch.com/articles/board-seeks-to-put-some-teeth-into-vicious-animal-ordinance

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One response to “Lake Saint Louis, MO: Breed may be considered when designating “dangerous” dog

  1. Laurel M. Ashley

    Stupid law is bad law and everyone should object to discrimination and injustice whatever form it takes. A dog is not dangerous because of how it looks and the law needs to be fair and reasonable and should address the real issue. A dog (any breed) may become dangerous depending on circumstances and whether or not the owners are behaving in a responsible manner. Laws need to target irresponsible behavior on the part of owners, not on dogs by breed.