Knox City Council Discusses Vicious Dogs

Knox City Council #2
Back Row: Mayor Rick Chambers, Ed Blue, Clerk-Treasurer Jeff Houston, Greg Matt and Attorney David Matsey. Front Row: Linda Berndt, Jeff Berg and Ron Parker

Dogs in the city limits of Knox can be a problem for many reasons. Even though a dog may be gentle and kind to its owners, it might be vicious to others.

Vicious dogs was a topic of discussion last week at the Knox City Council meeting. It all came about when several people who received citations for offenses were just walking away from ownership. Not only was the fine for a vicious dog $250.00, but other lesser offenses were, too.

It was discussed at a past meeting that the fines should be reduced for the lesser offenses, but the $250.00 fine should remain for vicious dogs. One woman owed $750.00 in fines for lesser offenses. In this case, she said that she was going to give up ownership of the dog because she couldn’t afford the fines.

Mayor Rick Chambers talked specifically about vicious dogs.

“We had an issue with vicious animals to begin with and we thought we would have to do something different with this ordinance, but I think the Chief and I have straightened that out,” said Mayor Chambers. “The issue was that our ordinance says once a dog has bitten somebody or has the capacity to bite somebody, it’s deemed a vicious animal. Well, the Health Department is in charge of all dog bites. So, the issue came when there was a dog bite and then the Humane Society was in charge. It was either contained at the Humane Society, or if they knew who the owner was and it had shots and it had tags, the Humane Society would let the owner keep that dog. They were sending that dog back in town. By our terminology, it’s a vicious dog and it should not have been allowed in town. I have sent a letter to the Humane Society and to the Health Department to explain our side of it. We have an ordinance against that. Hopefully, they will work with us and these animals will not be brought back into town.”

City Attorney, David Matsey, will rewrite the ordinance with new language about vicious dogs, and reduce fines for other violations.