Hobart may change dog ordinance
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent February 16, 2013 11:58PM
Updated: March 18, 2013 6:55AM
HOBART — The City Council is poised to consider amending its dog ordinance with the idea of regulating owners, not their pets.
The proposed ordinance is on the agenda for the City Council meeting on Wednesday.
As previously stated by council members, the ordinance will not be breed specific, working on the premise that there are no bad breeds, just bad owners.
“The viciousness of the animal is a learned behavior,” said City Attorney Anthony DeBonis.
The proposed ordinance would make it unlawful for someone to allow their dog to run at large without being fenced in or on a leash with a lead not to exceed 15 feet; to provoke an attack on a human or other domestic animal; and to fail to feed, water and care for the dog in a time period exceeding 48 hours.
Also, the owner wouldn’t be able to allow the dog to continue to bark, howl or whine; to threaten or harass passers-by or chase vehicles, joggers and others; to deposit dog excrement on other peoples’ or public property; or to allow an accumulation of feces on their property.
Owners would be fined up to $2,500 for an unprovoked attack by their dog on a human and a maximum of $500 for an unprovoked attack on another domestic animal.
Violations of other provisions in the ordinance would carry fines of $50 to $2,500, with the final determination made by the judge in City Court.
Each day the owner is in violation would be a separate violation with an additional fine.
The council has been discussing changing its ordinance since last summer and was awaiting word from the Hobart Humane Society, which was asked to look it over.
Council President Jerry Herzog, D-1st, said the Humane Society OK’d the content, but asked that the Hobart Police Department continue to write citations to offenders and that photos be taken of each dog when the owner comes to City Hall to buy its tags.
The photo would be placed on file with the clerk-treasurer’s office for identification purposes, Herzog said.
The proposed ordinance calls for the Police Department, code enforcement officer, building commissioner and animal control authority to be able to write citations and warnings.
However, the council said it didn’t want to be responsible for the photos.
“We do about 300 tags a year,” Clerk-Treasurer Deborah Longer said.