Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WELLSVILLE - Village animal control officer Leslie Dean is averaging 30 calls each month and is continuing her efforts to inform the public about laws

Animal control officer keeping public informed

WELLSVILLE - Village animal control officer Leslie Dean is averaging 30 calls each month and is continuing her efforts to inform the public about laws regarding dog ownership.

Dean reported to Village Council this week that she has developed a public notice she can leave on doors when responding to calls where no one is home or answers the door. The notice advises the homeowner to contact her so she can speak with them about the nature of her call.

On her monthly notices to council, which lists the number and nature of calls, how many dogs are taken to the village and county dog pounds and other information, Dean now has included a separate listing for "pit bull issues."

Saying there are "a lot of pit bulls in Wellsville," Dean explained to council that owners of pit bulls must abide by a separate set of regulations than the owners of other breeds, according to state law.

For example, Dean said, pit bull owners are required to carry $100,000 in liability insurance on their dogs, and the dogs must be kept inside a locked, fenced-in yard or locked pen with a rooftop. The Ohio Insurance Exchange in Lancaster, Ohio, can be contacted about the necessary insurance, according to Dean.

By state law, a pit bull is defined as "a vicious dog," and for enforcement purposes, "pit bull" refers not only to purebred American pit bull terriers but Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, American bulldogs or any other purebred or mixed breed dog whose appearance and physical characteristics are predominately those of these breeds.

"No one is aware they don't have to be a full-bred pit bull (to fall under these regulations)," Dean said.