County Supervisors Reject Megan's Law-Style Vicious Dog Site

The website was a part of a proposed ordinance defining vicious and potentially dangerous dogs and outlining the county's resources for dealing with them.

by Paloma Esquivel, McClatchy News Service / December 18, 2013

Orange County, Calif., won't be creating a Megan's Law-style website for dangerous dogs any time soon.

The county Board of Supervisors had been considering creating an online database listing the addresses of homes where dangerous dogs are kept, but on Tuesday a majority of supervisors said they don't support such a site.

"I think that whole area needs a lot more study before we go in that direction," said Supervisor Patricia Bates.

The website had been included in a proposed ordinance defining vicious and potentially dangerous dogs and outlining the county's recourses for dealing with them. The board voted unanimously to adopt the ordinance without the website provision.

In addition to Bates, Supervisors John Moorlach and Shawn Nelson said they opposed the creation of a website.

Bates said she worried it might be difficult for owners to get their dogs removed from the site even if the animals stopped behaving dangerously. Nelson said residents who want to know the location of dangerous dogs already have the option of calling OC Animal Care to learn where they are kept. He also said he worried it would be difficult to keep the site up to date.

The adopted resolution allows the county's Animal Care director to declare certain dogs "vicious" or "potentially dangerous" and to impose conditions on their owners, including possibly requiring them to maintain liability insurance against injuries caused by the dog, post warning notices to the public, use muzzles or sterilize the animal.

Owners whose dogs are deemed dangerous have a right to a hearing and to appeal the decision in Orange County Superior Court, supervisors said. Animals deemed the most dangerous would be euthanized. The ordinance isn't much different from the county's current practices but it makes the rules more explicit, Bates said.

(c) 2013 the Los Angeles Times

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