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Santa Barbara County Supes To Consider Changes To “Dangerous Dog” Ordinance

Dog owners will want to pay special attention to an issue up before the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Board members will consider revising the current “dangerous dog” ordinance to add more flexibility to the law.

“The proposal is that there be a “potentially dangerous dog” and “vicious dog” and that information be considered under each category,” said County Health Information Officer Susan Klein-Rothschild. “And the hearing officer would have some flexibility. That in addition to euthanize, there may be options for owners .. maintain their animals with strict controls and regulations to assure the public is safe.”

Depending on the type of incident, a dog might be required to wear a muzzle or undergo special training.

The topic came up earlier this year after several fatal maulings including three separate cat attacks in Orcutt involving the same two dogs.

Those dogs ended up on the county’s euthanize list and are sitting in a kennel. The owners, the Hennings, gathered petition signatures to try and save their pets and initiate changes to the current ordinance.

Klein-Rothschild said the goal is to protect the public’s health and have compassion for the animals while acknowledging people’s passion for their pets. She also emphasized changes to the ordinance will not be retroactive.

“We’ve brought forward the proposed revised ordinance for the future. It is not to address any pending cases,” said Klein-Rotheschild.

At this point, it is unclear whether the Hennings are at the end of their legal road.

“These are not easy decisions,” said Klein-Rotheschild. “They are never easy decisions.”

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