Dogs fight ‘dangerous dog’ labels

Published: Feb. 10, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Dogs were fighting in St. Joseph County today—or more accurately—fighting back.

The St. Joseph County Animal Control Commission met to hear eight appeals from dog owners who were trying to prevent their pets from being labelled as “dangerous animals.”

First up was Max, a one-year old Akita from Mishawaka.

He was accused of biting a neighbor’s chicken, or chickens last July.

“Now, if she had proof, she said her daughter seen it and that as the only proof. I said, do you have any pictures or anything? I said you can’t just, your daughter can’t just say it was my dog without any proof,” Charles Stewart told the panel. “If my dog really killed the chickens, I would have replaced the chickens but, like I said, I told her I don’t believe it was my dog.”

In the end, the commission decided to place Max on probation for one year.

“Possible outcomes are, after the animal control board has heard the appellate side, the animal control representative’s side, and after we’ve opened it up to the public to say what they would like to say about the case, the outcomes are either--dismiss the case. The second outcome is the appellant is placed on a probationary period, and the third is that we uphold the animal control agency’s decision that they had made initially,” said Animal Control Commission Chair, Det. Brianna Glueckert, a canine handler with the St. Joseph County Police Department. “It’s tough. Nobody, anybody who is an animal lover like myself doesn’t like to tell somebody that their dog, who is like their best friend, is dangerous. Nobody likes to do that, but, you know, it’s, when you’re a dog owner, you have to be responsible. You have to keep everybody around you safe.”

When an animal is designated as dangerous, the owner has to deal with a different set of rules. They must obtain $300,000 worth or liability insurance and obtain a six-sided, escape proof kennel and place warning signs on their property. Dangerous animals must also be muzzled and leashed while out walking in public.

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