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Mandan is reviewing and making changes to its code of ordinances pertaining to animals, following a dog attack in July that left a woman and her 7-year-old child seriously injured.

Last week the city commission approved the introduction and first consideration of proposed ordinance 1303, which, as presented, does not ban specific breeds of dogs.

“I don’t want people to get a false sense of security that a specific breed is dangerous, when any breed can be dangerous. It just depends on the way they were brought up, the way they were trained, treated throughout their life,” said Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler.

Commissioner Dennis Rohr highlighted a few of the ordinance’s specifics.

It defines an “owner.”

“Just the matter of fact that you purchase a dog, have a dog does not necessarily make you an ‘owner,’” Rohr said. “You can have a dog or cat that, if you take care of it for a period of time, for example, it becomes your property.”

The proposed ordinance also defines what the city considers a “nuisance animal.”

“Dogs that go onto private property and soil and defecate there, bark too much, chase vehicles … things like that,” Rohr said.

It also limits leash length to 6 feet or less — compared to 12 feet previously — and defines a “dangerous or vicious dog.”

“That means if a dog is attacking another person or domestic animal without justification or provocation, causing serious bodily harm or death, it is considered to be a dangerous or vicious dog,” Rohr said. “And that dog, according to the ordinance, shall not be kept within the city.

Police officers will be able to issue a citation for various sections of the ordinance, as opposed to having to do a long-form complaint for charges.

“This ordinance actually gives the police department the power to cite people, now, who have their dogs not on a leash,” Rohr said.

The proposed ordinance is a result of discussions held by the city commission, as well as separate meetings attended by Rohr, Ziegler, city administrator Jim Neubauer, city attorney Malcolm Brown and staff from the Mandan Police Department. Public input was taken into consideration, as well as information gathered from the city’s animal control division.

The commission is expected to take final action on the proposed ordinance on Dec. 4.

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Reach Cheryl McCormack at 701-250-8264 or cheryl.mccormack@bismarcktribune.com.

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