Dog attack prompts city to review dangerous-animal ordinanceThe city of Rosemount will take a closer look at its ordinance regulating dangerous dogs after a March 23 incident in which an akita that had gotten out of its yard attacked three other dogs, killing two.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
The city of Rosemount will take a closer look at its ordinance regulating dangerous dogs after a March 23 incident in which an akita that had gotten out of its yard attacked three other dogs, killing two.
Mariah McGivern was in the yard raking with her sister when two other dogs wandered in. One left without incident, but the other continued to approach.
There was no growling or barking, but McGivern, who said she doesn’t like dogs she doesn’t know, walked toward her house and called her family’s dog, a beagle that was on a line in the yard. Before the dog could get to the house, though, the strange dog attacked, grabbing and shaking the beagle.
The attack frightened the girls.
“My sister tried to take a rake and hit it. I threw a deck chair off the deck and we were running in and out of the house screaming,” McGivern said.
McGivern’s mother, Sonja, was home at the time. Once the attack was over they took the dog to the vet, where it died in surgery.
In the meantime, the attacking dog, an akita, wandered to another nearby home, where it attacked two other dogs. One escaped without serious injury but the other, a pekignese named Coco, suffered a punctured lung and died a few days later. Daniel I. Vansteenburg, the owner of the pekignese involved in the second attack, said the akita charged into the yard at full speed.
Vansteenburg, who attended an April 14 city council work session with a miniature statue of his dog and the animal’s collar, told council members he had $3,500 in veterinary bills for his dog. The McGivern’s had a $1,440 vet bill for their dog.
Rosemount’s current ordinance restricting dangerous dogs is aligned to state statute. Owners of a dog identified as dangerous are required to post warning signs, sterilize the dog and get insurance. They’re also required to keep the dog in a proper enclosure — a pen with a top on it — and muzzle the dog when it is not in an enclosure.
The city requires a $500 annual license fee for dogs identified as dangerous.
Rosemount police lieutenant Jewel Ericson said the owners of the akita have had the dog euthanized, but the owners of the dogs that were killed expressed concern at a the work session that the dog was returned to its owners before any of the conditions had been met.
“They had 14 days and they weren’t really enforcing the conditions,” Kelly McGivern said.
City council members were not sure Wednesday if the city has the authority to remove a dog from its owner.
The city of Rosemount has examined a dangerous-dog ordinance already in place in Apple Valley that puts further restrictions on such animals. Apple Valley only allows dogs identified as dangerous in property zoned industrial.
Council members asked city staff to do more research on the dangerous dog ordinance but there was discussion Wednesday about whether there should be more notification of neighbors when a dog is identified as dangerous. Council member Mark DeBettignies compared the situation to the notification that goes out when a registered sex offender moves into a neighborhood.