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Ohio county revamps dog laws

Add it to the list of Ohio counties that are expanding their definition of nuisance dogs. Strongsville City Council approved the new definition at a November meeting. According to a councilman, the definition is changed to include dogs that attack other cats and dogs, not to mention humans.

The current definition generally refers to dogs that attack without provocation, off of the premises of owner, or even approach someone in an attack manner. Causing serious harm to a dog or cat will now be another factor of the definition. The implication of the nuisance dog relegation means that the owner might have to obtain liability insurance for his or her pet.

The change to the dog law isn't the first this year. Recently, the city amended the law in accordance with the new Ohio Revised Code which eliminated the language that automatically makes pit bulls a vicious dog.

Although city councils have the ability to make these changes, it is ultimately a determination left up to the animal control officer of the city as to whether a dog is a nuisance dog or not. Dog owners have the ability to argue a classification in whichever court has jurisdiction over their property.

Anyone injured by such a nuisance dog may have an avenue to recover compensation for those injuries. Property owners do have a responsibility to fix a dangerous condition on their property if they knew or should have known of the danger. Property owners also have a responsibility to warn of these dangers. Dogs with a history of bites or attacks may fall squarely into this category and may demonstrate an owner's responsibility to the victim of an attack.

Source: Sun Star Courier, "Strongsville City Council expands definition of nusiance dogs," Cory Shaffer, Nov. 29, 2012

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