Unprovoked Attacks to Carry New Consequences
Come Tuesday, Ohio Dog Owners Will Become More Legally Responsible Than Ever
A man is walking down a Mentor sidewalk when he encounters another man and his dog.
The dog bites the other man without provocation — that is, without being “teased, tormented or abused” or defending a person abiding the law or using a dog to protect the law.
If this scenerio actually took place tomorrow, the day new Ohio law is enacted, that dog's walker could face criminal charges — anywhere from a fourth-degree misdemeanor to a fifth-degree felony, which could carry time behind bars.
From tomorrow on, if a dog kills another dog or causes injury to a person, it will be legally classified as “dangerous,” forcing its owner to pay a $50 annual fee, spay or neuter and microchip the dog, ensure rabies shots, chain-link fence its living space and buy a dog tag and yard signs warning of its new status.
If a dog seriously injures or kills a person, however, it will be legally classified as “vicious,” and thereafter, without a judge's pardon, euthanized.
Also as of tomorrow, Ohio law will no longer automatically classify Pit Bulls as dangerous. The breed's intrinsic jaw strength has caused some supporters to strongly oppose this part of the law, but loving Pit Bill owners will certainly cheer it.
Regardless, the Ohio Dog Warden's Association initially set the law in motion to hold dog owners accountable for knowing their dogs' behaviors and keeping those around them safe, and that's something I think all dog owners should be able to support.
Criminal investigation will begin if someone complains about a bite or law enforcement requests it, not based on suspicion of a dangerous or vicious animal alone, although a dog could still be labeled dangerous if its owner isn't charged.
Law changes tomorrow; spread the word.
In other news, what better way to spend a spring Saturday than to spend $10 at a wine tasting for Lake Humane Society?
On Saturday, June 2, from 1 till 5 p.m., bring your leashed dogs and join fellow animal lovers at Grand River Cellars in Madison for the third annual Woof, Wag and Wine!: a vineyard tour, winetasting by Muddy Paws Wine, live music by Horsefeathers, Chinese and silent auctions, prize giveaways for the first 100 attendees, contests, 50/50 raffles and more.
Lake Humane spokeswoman Mandy Osborne said the event was a huge success last year — no surprise. Food will be also sold inside and out, and $1 for each bottle of wine sold benefits the animals of Lake Humane, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Bring blankets, lawn chairs, canopies to help make the lawn a real picnic site. A complete schedule can be found here; call (440) 951-6122 with questions.