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Amendments Proposed to Define and Address Dangerous or Vicious Dogs

Authored on
April 6, 2022

City staff will consider proposed changes to the City’s municipal code that addresses dogs that have exhibited dangerous or vicious behavior. The proposed changes will go before the Ordinance Committee meeting at its April 19 meeting.

Key changes will determine the definition of a dangerous or vicious dog and the administrative hearing and appeal process for dogs determined to be dangerous or vicious.

The amendments also allow a hearing officer to require owners of dogs that have acted in a dangerous or vicious manner to apply corrective actions such as putting up a fence around the yard, making the dog wear a muzzle in public, obedience-training classes, or obtaining liability insurance. Other additional management actions can include: posting notices on the property that there has been a determination of a vicious dog; using a secure enclosure; and prohibiting ownership for a period of three years. A provision has been added allowing an animal guardian to file a petition requesting removal of the dangerous or vicious designation after a 2-year period if no additional incidents have taken place.

Other important amendments to the code include:

  • Addition of a section addressing adequate care of animals;
  • Defining an irresponsible owner;
  • Defining what constitutes a dog noise nuisance;
  • Providing the federal and state definition of a service animal and requiring a person who has a service animal to obtain a service animal license and tag;
  • Amending the city’s rabies vaccination requirements.

The Santa Barbara Police Department provides enforcement of animal control within the City limits while the County provides impoundment services.

The proposed ordinance changes will go before the City Council at its April 26 meeting.

The proposed ordinance can be found HERE.

Interested parties can submit public comment on this matter via email to: JDoimas@SantaBarbaraCA.gov

The public can get instructions on how participate in the Ordinance Committee meeting by visiting: Santa Barbara - Ordinance Committee Meetings: Dates, Agendas, Minutes, and Videos (santabarbaraca.gov)

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