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Vicious dog ordinance adopted in Berkeley County

October 25, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The Berkeley County Commission on Thursday formally adopted a vicious dog ordinance that had been bandied about for months.

The ordinance, which outlines what constitutes a vicious dog and what will happen to such animals, takes effect Jan. 1, 2003.

Under the ordinance, a dog will be declared vicious if it kills or inflicts injury on a person without provocation, injures an animal that is not on its property or approaches a person off its property "in a vicious or terrorizing manner, in an apparent attitude of attack."

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Dogs will not be declared vicious if they attack someone who was committing a crime or trespassing on the dog owner's property, or if the dog was being tormented, provoked or abused.

Before voting, commissioner Robert Burkhart asked fellow commissioner Howard Strauss why he wanted an effective date more than two months away.

Strauss said that is when the Berkeley County Animal Control facility will be finished, increasing the number of dog runs from six to 36. Without pens to hold dogs, the ordinance might be useless, Strauss said.

Construction of the animal control building on South Queen Street is under way.

Now that the ordinance has been adopted, county officials are seeking five people to serve on an appeal board. If a dog owner does not feel their dog is vicious, they can appeal to the five-member panel.

Anyone interested in serving on the board can pick up an application at the commission's office or download one from its Web site, www.berkeleycountycomm.org.

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