During their meeting Tuesday, the Bourbon County Commission decided to look over the current vicious dog policy for the county and consider how they might update it.
“It comes to the issue of what a vicious dog is,” county attorney Justin Meeks said, saying that term needs to be defined more specifically and not just by breed.
Meeks said the need for an update to the policy was brought up about a year ago and again more recently due to a current criminal case involving the policy.
The current policy was published in the 1980s and specifically states that “any vicious dog which has a tendency or propensity to attack or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or domestic animals without provocation” would be prohibited in the county. The policy goes on to state that any pit bull dog would also be banned, and violators could be fined $100-$500.
“I never did think it was right to have a genocide on one specific breed,” Commissioner Harold Coleman said of prohibiting pit bulls in general. “It doesn’t sound fair to me.”
If specific breeds are banned, Meeks pointed out the difficulty involved with proving a dog is of that breed, which can include extensive testing. Instead, Meeks advised the commission define what is considered vicious actions that can be easily determined.
“You know it when you see it,” Meeks said of recognizing a vicious dog, saying that feature is not limited by the size or breed of a dog.
But at the same time, Meeks said several scenarios have to be considered. For example, what if a dog does harm to someone that was trespassing on its owner’s property? Or what if a dog attacked another dog or animal and not a human? Other issues include who would pay for the harboring or termination of a dog that is deemed vicious.
Currently, the Bourbon County Sheriff’s Department responds to dog bite calls and is responsible for the quarantine of the dog and filling out a report.
The commission plans to discuss updates to the policy Tuesday, December 6, at 11 a.m.