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New rules will regulate dangerous dogs

Rosemount's ordinance regarding dangerous dogs is getting an overhaul. At a July 14 work session the council instructed police chief Gary Kalstabakken to revise the ordinance and to bring it back to the council for final approval.

Revisions of the ordinance came up after three dogs were attacked in March. Two of the dogs died as a result of their injuries. After the attack the owners of the dogs expressed concerns that city's ordinance is not strict enough and should closer resemble an ordinance in Apple Valley.

At that time the city council instructed Kalstabakken to review the ordinance and to come back with suggestions. After reviewing Apple Valley's and other community's dog ordinances Kalstabakken recommended several changes and clarifications be made to the current ordinance to make it stricter.

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.

The changes to the ordinance will include a requirement that the dog's owner have proof of insurance that specifically insures any personal injuries or other claims resulting from the dog and the owner must immediately comply with all requirements when a dog is declared potentially dangerous or dangerous even if they are appealing the decision.

The amendments will also clarify that a current resident who owns a potentially dangerous dog must report any new address. Neighbors of the dangerous dog will be notified and the owner will be required to pay the costs of the appeal process if the designation is upheld.

Kalstabakken said the change residents will likely notice is the requirement that neighbors be notified of dangerous or potentially dangerous dogs.

While the issue doesn't come up often, Kalstabakken said dogs who need to be classified do show up every now and again. This year though there have been more than normal, said Kalstabakken. So far this year there have been four dog bite complaints.

A list, of dangerous and potentially dangerous dogs, is maintained by the police department. Kalstabakken said there are 16 dogs on the list dating back to 2003.

According to the memo to the city council dangerous dogs must be registered annually and follow-up is done to ensure compliance. Community service officers also conduct follow-up visits with the owners of potentially dangerous dogs to verify that the dog is still owned, licensed and living in the city

The intent of the discussion at last week's work session was to receive council direction on any amendments to the ordinance related to potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs.

Along with the changes to the dog ordinance Kalstabakken said the police department has proposed that the city no longer regulate cats.

According to the city council memo there are roughly 50 cats/kittens impounded annually in Rosemount. The police department receives other calls regarding cats, but in some cases a nuisance or at-large cat is not captured and impounded. That means the number of complaints about cats received annually is greater than the number of cats impounded and is estimated to be around 75 calls per year.

If regulation of cats is removed from the city code, community service officers and police officers will no longer respond to these calls for service. Residents with cat problems will be given advice similarly to when the complaint is about a wild animal.

Removing the regulation could save the city $8,000 a year.

City administrator Dwight Johnson said the issue will go before the council for approval sometime in the next month.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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