[Ord. No. 1048 §§1 — 2(4-31), 6-27-2006]
Any dog with the following characteristics shall be classified as dangerous:
Any dog which has inflicted a severe or fatal injury on a human being on public or private property. "Severe injury" means any physical injury, resulting directly from a dog's bite, which results in broken bones, or lacerations requiring stitches, or in-patient hospitalization. The victim receiving severe injuries, as defined above, must provide the Animal Control Officer a signed physician's statement documenting injury and treatment qualifier, such as a severe injury or sign an authorization for release of such statement.
Any dog which has killed a domestic animal, livestock or poultry without provocation, while off the owner's property.
Any dog owned or harbored primarily or in part for the purpose of dog fighting or any dog trained for dog fighting.
Any dog which has bitten a human being, without provocation, on public or private property other than the property of the owner.
Any dog which, while on the owner's property, has bitten, without provocation, a human being other than the owner or a member of the owner's family who normally resides at the place where the dog is kept.
Any dog which, when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person upon the streets, sidewalks or any public grounds, or private property other than that property of the owner, in a menacing fashion or apparent attitudes of attack regardless of whether or not a person is injured by said dog.
Any dog with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, to cause injury, or to otherwise threaten the safety of human beings or domestic animals.
If the circumstances surrounding the classification as a dangerous dog under any of the definitions listed in Subsection (A) are in dispute, then the owner has the option of submitting, within five (5) working days, a written request to the Municipal Court for a hearing.
Pending the outcome of such a hearing, the dog must be confined in such a manner so not to be a threat to any person. The confinement may be on the owner's premises or with a licensed veterinarian.
The Municipal Court judge shall determine whether to declare the animal a dangerous dog based upon evidence and testimony presented in any hearing involving such animal.
In determining whether to declare the animal a dangerous dog, the court shall consider all evidence presented by the animal's owner, witnesses to any events described in Subsection (A) of this Section, animal control personnel, Police or any other person possessing information pertinent to such determination. If a dog is declared dangerous, the court shall order that a brightly colored fluorescent yellow collar be attached by the owner to the dangerous dog. The court shall further order that the collar be worn by such dangerous dog(s) at all times.
The Municipal Court shall issue written findings within five (5) days after the hearing. The owner or possessor of the animal found to be dangerous shall be required to maintain the animal as herein provided in this Section.
Exemptions To Dangerous Dog Classification.
With the exception of Subsection (A)(1), no dog may be declared dangerous if the threat, injury or damage was sustained by a person who at the time was committing a willful trespass or other tort upon the premises occupied by the owner or keeper of the dog, or was teasing, tormenting, abusing or assaulting the dog, or has, in the past, been observed or reported to have teased, tormented, abused or assaulted the dog, or was committing or attempting to commit a crime.
With the exception of Subsection (A) an Animal Control Officer may, because of extenuating circumstances, determine from the investigation of an incident that an animal is not dangerous. However, the owner, being responsible for said dog, may be warned of the animal's tendencies and to take appropriate action to prevent subsequent incidences. This, however, does not exempt the owner from being cited for other animal control ordinance violations.
Dogs owned by governmental or law enforcement agencies when being used in the services of those agencies are exempt.
[Ord. No. 1048 §§1 — 2(4-32), 6-27-2006]
The following actions shall be required of owners of dogs that have been declared dangerous dogs:
Any dangerous dog which bites or scratches a human being, or any dog whose behavior immediately prior to or during an incident resulting in a human being bitten or scratched, which is determined to be dangerous, shall be impounded for a ten (10) day rabies quarantine at the municipal animal shelter or a veterinarian clinic.
The owner or keeper shall notify the Animal Control Officer or Police Department immediately if a dangerous dog, is loose, unconfined or missing, has attacked another animal, or has attacked a human being.
The owner or keeper shall notify the Animal Control Officer within twenty-four (24) hours if a dangerous dog has died or has been sold or given away. If the dog has been sold or given away, the owner or keeper shall provide the Animal Control Officer with the name, address and telephone number of the new owner, and the new owner, if the dog is kept within the City limits of Billings, must comply with the requirements of this Article.
While on the owner's property, a dangerous dog must be securely confined indoors or a securely enclosed and locked pen or structure, suitable to prevent the entry of young children and designed to prevent the animal from escaping. Such pen or structure must have minimum dimensions of five (5) feet by ten (10) feet and must have secure sides and a secure top. If it has no bottom secured to the sides, the sides must be embedded into the ground no less than twelve (12) inches. The enclosure must also provide protection from the elements for the dog. The enclosure, when occupied by a dangerous dog, shall not be occupied by any other animal. If the dangerous dog is a female with a litter of puppies under three (3) months of age, the puppies may occupy the same enclosure as the mother.
No dangerous dog may be kept on a porch, patio or in any part of a house or structure that would allow the dog to exit such building on its own volition. In addition, no such animal may be kept in a house or structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors are the only obstacles preventing the dog from exiting the structure.
The owner or keeper shall display a sign on his/her premises that there is a dangerous dog on the property. This sign shall be visible and capable of being read from the public highway or thoroughfare from which the property is entered. In addition, a similar sign is required to be posted on the kennel or pen or fenced yard of such animal.
A dangerous dog may be off the owner's premises if it is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash not exceeding six (6) feet in length and under the control of a responsible person. The muzzle must be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but must prevent it from biting any person or animal.
All owners or keepers of dangerous dogs must within ten (10) days of such declaration provide the Animal Control Officer two (2) color photographs, one (1) showing the left profile, the other showing the right profile of the animal, clearly showing the color and approximate size of the animal.
The owner or keeper of a dangerous dog shall present to the Animal Control Department proof that the owner or keeper has procured liability insurance in the amount of at least one hundred thousand dollars ($100,000.00) covering the twelve (12) month period during which licensing is sought. This policy shall contain a provision requiring the City of Billings to be notified by the insurance company of any cancellation, termination or expiration of the policy.
Any dangerous dog shall wear at all times a bright fluorescent yellow collar with required tags attached so the dog can be identified as a dangerous dog.
It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of a dangerous dog within the City of Billings to fail to comply with requirements and conditions set forth in this Article. Anyone found to be subject of a violation of this Article may be, in addition to other penalties provided by ordinance, subject to immediate seizure and impoundment for a minimum of ten (10) days or the time necessary for the owner or keeper to show compliance with this Article, whichever is shorter.
[Ord. No. 1048 §§1 — 2(4-33), 6-27-2006]
If, upon violation and conviction of this Article, it shall appear to the judge of the Municipal Court that it is necessary for the public safety and welfare that the dog concerned be euthanized, the judge shall so order and the Animal Control Officer shall execute the order of the court.