A new proposal would change the definition of “dangerous dogs” in Riley County.
County commissioners on Thursday considered a measure that would remove dog breeds in its definition of “dangerous dogs” and focus on each dog’s behavior.
Deputy County Counselor Craig Cox proposed two changes to the current policy. Some of the policy updates would align with the Manhattan city government’s policy.
Cox said the county and city governments have similar definitions for dangerous dogs that include 12 dog breeds on a “suspect breed” regulation list. The owners of these dogs are held to a high standard of care for those animals, he said. The county is seeking to change that policy and use a behavioral approach.
Cox said any dog is a good dog until it has its first bite. Under the proposal, Cox said a dangerous dog would be one “that causes serious injury to a person or animal, and we define a serious injury as far as meaning broken bones or lacerations that require multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.”
His department also is proposing a lesser category, “potentially dangerous dog,” which is defined as one that “causes an injury to a person or injury that is less severe than a serious injury,” Cox said.
If a dog is classified as dangerous, the policy would call for possible impoundment, adjudication and fines. The policy gives certain requirements for fencing to ensure public safety if dogs are deemed dangerous. None of the commissioners commented on whether they would support the change during the meeting.
Commissioners also discussed the policy for tagging, which would not change under the proposal. Cox said owners are required to have licenses for their dogs to track rabies vaccinations. But he said it’s hard for county officials to enforce the rule.
Cox said county officials have tried for years to update the policy. He said he’s taking the proposal back to his department. Commissioners likely will discuss it at the end of October.