Mission Hills updates ‘potentially dangerous’ dog regulations to provide owners with chance for reprieve

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In 2014, Mission Hills changed its domestic animal regulations to move from a breed-specific ban of pit bulls to an ordinance that allowed the city administration to label a dog “potentially dangerous” or “dangerous” if it exhibited signs of aggression. This week, in response to a resident’s concerns, the city updated its rules again to give the owners of those dogs the chance to appeal such a declaration.

The Mission Hills City Council on Monday approved updated ordinance language that gives the owners of dogs labeled potentially dangerous or dangerous 15 days to appeal the move, and provides another provision that allows the owners such dogs the chance to ask a judge to remove the declaration after two years.

However, the council also approved a series of changes that increase the requirements for residents to legally keep dogs that have been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous in the city. Those requirements include:

  • The dog and owner must enroll in a behavior modification program run by a licensed animal behaviorist within 30 days of the declaration.
  • The city will send a written notice to all residents within 500 feet of the property where the animal resides that the dog has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous
  • The owner must pay $200 for a annual permit to keep the dog
  • The dog must get an identification microchip
  • The owner has to get public liability insurance with coverage of up to $500,000 for any incidents that results in harm inflicted by the dog
  • The owner must “provide a written statement, signed by the Owner, indemnifying the City and its agents and employees for any and all injuries that may result from the Dangerous Dog or Potentially Dangerous Dog.”

Among the restrictions that remain on the books from the 2014 changes are that dogs declared dangerous or potentially dangerous must be confined to an area surround by a fence at least six feet high when not within a home, and that they must be muzzled and kept on a leash no longer than four feet long when taken off the residential property.