The Orange County Board of Supervisors today rejected the idea of a website that would map the location of dangerous dogs throughout the county, opting instead to approve an ordinance changing how vicious dogs will be defined and dealt with.
The whole idea of dog mapping--pinpointing where dangerous dogs live--was very controversial to from the start. Some critics felt it could cause mass hysteria in a neighborhood or bring down property values. The whole reason the idea came up in the first place is because, last year alone, there were nearly 2,300 reports of dog bites in the Orange County Animal Care service area. Supporters of dog mapping felt a website identifying where vicious dogs were located would help with the problem.
Instead, the board came up with an ordinance with three classifications of dangerous canines. Level one is a dog that bites or puts a human or another dog in a defensive position twice in a 36-month period. A level two dog is one that has four unprovoked attacks that cause severe injuries to a human or other dog. A level three dog is one that kills or causes severe injury such as maiming. Police or military dogs on the job would be exempt.
Any dog classified as level three could be euthanized. Although owners of level three dogs would still have the right to ask for an administrative hearing and could even go to court to try to keep their dogs from being put down.
Supervisors will take a final vote on the ordinance at a later date.
The Orange County Board of Supervisors today tentatively approved an ordinance changing how vicious canines will be defined and dealt with, but nixed a proposal to create a website that would identify dangerous dogs.
The ordinance, which was unanimously approved on first reading, defines "provocation" in an incident involving a dog and allows Orange County Animal Care officials to designate vicious pets as level 1, 2 or 3.
A Level 1 dog is one that on two occasions during a 36-month period does anything that puts someone or another animal in a "defensive, protective or fleeing" position to avoid bodily injury. A dog could be categorized as Level 1 if it bites a person without provocation and leaves at most a minor injury.
A Level 1 dog could also graduate to a Level 2 canine if the bad behavior persists.
A Level 2 dog is one that makes an unprovoked attack on four separate occasions, forcing someone or another animal to avoid injury. The Level 2 designation could also apply to dogs that have caused a severe or substantial injury to a person or other animal.
Dogs used for fighting or trained to fight also will be given the Level 2 designation.A Level 3 canine is one that kills someone or causes a severe injury such as maiming. Police or military dogs on the job are exempt.
The ordinance also allows for the release of some dogs back to their owners during an investigation, which is aimed at saving the county money in boarding and caring for the animals.
A Level 3 Dog could be euthanized, said Ryan Drabek, director of Orange County Animal Care.However, the owners of a Level 3 dog would still have the right to ask for an administrative hearing, and, if the animal is still ordered to be euthanized, could appeal to an Orange County Superior Court judge, who would make the final ruling, Drabek said.
The supervisors will take a final vote on the ordinance at a future board meeting.