Fairfield Ledger
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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 18, 2014

Dog expert will decide if animal is ‘vicious’

By DAVID HOTLE | Jul 17, 2014

WASHINGTON, Iowa (GTNS) – The hand of doom won’t take Ozzy for at least 30 more days, which is the amount of time the Washington City Council gave owner Daniel Maines to have the dog, which the council declared vicious, tested by an animal behavioral specialist.

During a hearing at the regular city council meeting Tuesday evening, the council voted to declare Ozzy – a Staffordshire Bull Terrier — a vicious animal after hearing testimony of an incident that occurred June 11. According to reports, the dog had charged a woman after escaping from the garage where it was being kept. The dog then reportedly was aggressive toward a police officer and the dog catcher. The dog had to be tasered. Dog catcher Jason Whisler also reported the dog had broken a catcher pole while being restrained. The dog has been in the Washington pound for over a month and Whisler said that its behavior still remained the same. As of Wednesday, the kennel with Ozzy in it is the only kennel at the pound to have a “Beware of dog” sign on it.

“This dog has not come around,” Whisler, a nationally certified animal handler, said. “I cannot reach him at this time.”

Backup had been requested to help restrain the animal. The witness, Emily Davey, testified that the dog had behaved in a very aggressive manner. During the meeting, city attorney Kevin Olson reported that Chief Greg Goodman had recommended the dog be “humanely destroyed.” Goodman said today that he feels the 75-pound dog is a threat to public safety.

Maines had requested the hearing in response to Goodman’s decision to have the dog destroyed.

“He’s a good dog,” Maines said. “He’s not a mean dog. He is not vicious at all.”

Maines said that he believes Ozzy is protective of territory and that his concern over a new area had been misconstrued as the dog being aggressive. Council member Bob Shepherd said that the dog had not been in its territory. He also said that he had never seen Ozzy act aggressively. Maines said that he plans to move out of Washington this weekend and he wanted to take Ozzy with him. The council said that removing a vicious animal from town and transferring it to another town was unacceptable.

During the meeting, Maines had requested that an animal behavior expert evaluate Ozzy. After a motion by council member Russ Zieglowsky to have the dog destroyed died for lack of a second, the council voted to give Maines 30 days to hire an expert at his expense. The determination was also that if Ozzy were found to be a vicious animal, he would be destroyed.

Goodman said Wednesday that cases involving dogs have been on the rise recently. He said that the request from him to have an animal put down is very rare and only happens when the animal is felt to be a danger to public safety.

Earlier in the meeting, during the public comment session, a Washington resident questioned why a dog that had bit at her leg earlier this week had not been declared a vicious animal. Goodman said that the dog in that incident was small. He said one of the criteria to have a dog declared vicious is if officers feel the animal has the potential to injure a human.

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