Sioux Falls leash law violators face a $95 fine if their dogs get loose.
Rose Bailey didn’t expect to see the English Bulldog that ripped through her thigh last fall when she returned home from emergency surgery with dozens of stitches.
And the 84-year-old Sioux Falls woman who spent days in the hospital as a result of the attack was in disbelief that the animal hadn’t been put down.
That’s the story she shared with the City Council last December in hopes of seeing a strengthened animal control ordinance that could have given the city authority to do more after her run-in with a vicious animal.
Right now, in Sioux Falls if a dog attacks a person or another animal, animal control or police can declare it a vicious dog. That triggers a requirement that the owners maintain at least $100,000 or more worth of liability on the animal, keep it muzzled when in public and post a ‘beware of dog’ sign on outdoor kennels.
If those requirements aren’t met, only then can Sioux Falls Animal Control euthanize an animal deemed dangerous.
“But maybe your dog is enough of a menace that you shouldn’t get it back,” said Assistant City Attorney Keith Allenstein, who this week will bring a new proposal to the City Council’s Public Services Committee that would give the police chief the authority to order a vicious animal be put down. “We wanted an option that the declaration could be such … that the dog could be put down.”
Each year the city gets around 10 reports of dog bites – since 2014 there have been 26 such calls made to animal control and the police department. Allenstein said he’s not sure if Bailey’s case or any other recent animal bite cases would rise to the level of prompting a dog to be put down.
The determination would be based on what’s called a Dunbar scale which…