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Forget Webster, council defines dangerous dogs

South Boston Town Council adopted amendments to Chapter 18 of its town code at Monday’s meeting regarding dangerous or vicious dogs, amendments meant to put more teeth in the town’s ordinance and to align it with state code.

Under the amended ordinance, dangerous dogs would be defined as a canine or canine crossbreed that has bitten, attacked or inflicted injury on a person or companion animal that is a dog or cat or killed a companion animal that is a dog or cat.

Vicious dogs would be confined as a canine crossbreed that has killed a person, inflicted serious injury to a person or continued to exhibit the behavior that resulted in a previous finding by a court on or before July 1, 2006 by an animal control officer as authorized by ordinance that it is a dangerous dog, provided that its owner has been given notice of that finding.

Amendments to the ordinance would require the owner of any animal found by a court to be a dangerous dog to obtain a dangerous dog certificate from the town’s animal control officer at a cost of $150 within 45 days of such a finding.

All dangerous dog certificates would be renewed annually by Jan. 31 of each year for a fee of $85.

Ron Fitch, an Orleans Avenue resident and owner of four pit bulls, told council he has been a dog owner for 40 years.

“I think you needed to do this all along,” said Fitch, who told council he has had two dogs taken from his back yard.

“I’m surprised at people who don’t take care of animals. People don’t know how to tether animals properly. I agree with the change in the law,” he added. 

In other action taken on Monday, council approved a request from town staff to carry over $374,408 in unexpended fiscal year 2012-13 capital outlay appropriations to help complete Phase II construction of the Washington-Coleman Community Center project and approved the appointment of George Burton to fill a vacancy on the South Boston Industrial Development Authority.