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What Makes Spot ‘Vicious’? LA County To Seize Dogs For Chasing People

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed to approve an ordinance giving animal control officers the right to declare a dog “vicious,” a designation that can potentially lead to the animal being euthanized.

The new measure changes the definition of what actually makes a dog dangerous, and does not require a severe injury to a person who is attacked by a dog.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks
reports animal control officers will now have the power to seize an animal simply for chasing someone.

“There doesn’t necessarily have to be a bite,” said director of animal control Marcia Mayeda. “But if a dog’s charging at you down the street and you jump on top of a car to get out of the way, that’s a potentially dangerous dog.”

Under current law, owners of dogs deemed to be potentially dangerous can be forced to either muzzle the dogs and place them on a short leash or otherwise confine them — in addition to requiring the dog to undergo training classes.

But if a dog is determined to be a “significant threat to the public health, safety and welfare,” animal control personnel can destroy the dog under the new ordinance.

The board’s 4-0 support of the draft ordinance included noted animal lover Supervisor Michael Antonovich’s yes vote.

The law also sets up a more cost-effective administrative hearing process, one that won’t call on the Superior Court to resolve disputes over whether the picked-up dog was in fact dangerous.

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