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Dog bites by the numbers; what happens when a dog bites someone in Fort Wayne

Friday, November 15, 2013 - 12:01 am

Bites, by the numbers

Last year Fort Wayne had 837 cases of animal bites.

That number included bites to animals and well as people. The total number of people bitten was 567. In cases where people were bitten, 73 were minor scratches, 389 were minor punctures, 90 were moderate punctures >4 and the number of severe > 4 with tears was 15.

Of the 15 severe bites, eight of the dogs were confined on the owner's property or in the home, and seven were owned dogs running at large. Of the people who received bites, 441 were from dogs, 111 from cats, and 15 from “other.” Others included eight raccoons, two bats, one squirrel, one ferret and one rat.

The most common breed of dogs to be impounded at the Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control was pit bulls, 1,217, which is 22.5 percent of the total number of dogs impounded. The second most common was Labrador retrievers, 704, which was 12 percent of the total number of dogs impounded. The third largest group was German shepherds, 355, which was 6.6 percet of the total number impounded. Pit bulls accounted for 242, or 34.1 percent, of the bite cases. German shepherds accounted for 51, or 7.2 percent, of the bites and Labrador retrievers accounted for 38, or 5.4 percent, of the bites.

What's the penalty?

So what happens when a dog bites a person? According to city ordinance if the animal is running at large when it happened the owner is given two options. If the animal has not been previously spayed and neutered the owner should do so. If they choose not to do this they will receive a court summons for Potentially Dangerous Animal. Upon conviction, the court will require the animal be spayed or neutered and the court could impose additional fines of up to $2,500.

The city ordinance has four different levels of action it can take on bites, based on the severity and location. With one being the least amount of damage and lowest restrictive results for the animal up to a 4, which means the dog has been a repeat offender at any level of bite. I-A level 1 behavior is defined as; “if the dog is running at large and causes injury to another animal or human that results in an oral scratch or less than four punctures. Upon finding by the court that this occurred, the court may impose a penalty and order the dog be spayed or neutered.

I- B- Level 2 behavior is if the dog was running at large and caused injury to a domestic animal that may include tearing or death. The dog will then be spayed or neutered and court-ordered deferral is mandatory, if available.

I-C Level-2 behavior is if “the dog was running at large and caused injury to a human with more than 4 punctures the dog will be spayed or neutered, the court ordered deferral mandatory, if available. No tethering of the dog if unattended by an adult or as prohibited by section 91.021(D). Confinement as directed in writing by FWACC. The dog may be loose on the property of the owner if the dog is contained by a fence in good repair with padlocked gates with an adult present at the residence to take responsibility for the dog. When outside with no responsible adult present at the residence, the dog shall be contained in a fully enclosed kennel topped and in good repair with padlocked gates.

I-D, level 3 behavior “is established if the dog is running at large and causes an injury to a human that results in deep punctures, four or more, may include crushing or tears from shaking. Upon finding the court that this has occurred the Court may impose a penalty under 91.999 and shall order that the dog be spayed and neutered, the court order deferrals mandatory, if available, no tethering if unattended by an adult or as prohibited by D Humane muzzle and leash when off property and confinement as directed in writing by FWACC.”

I-D, level 4 is defined “as a repeat of any levels of classification offense that could initiate a dangerous dog investigation resulting in the order of destruction or an increase of confinement of the dog as listed below. The dog should be spayed or neutered, Court deferral mandatory if available, no tethering if unattended by an adult or as prohibited by 91.999 (D) humane muzzle and leash when off property and confinement as directed in writing by FWACC. The dog may be loose on the property of owner if the dog is contained by a fence in good repair with padlocked gates with an adult present at all times outside with the dog. When outside unattended by a responsible adult, the dog shall be contained in a fully enclosed kennel, topped in good repair, with padlocked gates.” Under this level of the ordinance if an owner moves the dog to another address he or she must notify the city of the change, before the move. If the owner fails to comply with any of these restrictions the Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control director has the authority to impound the dog until the court has taken action in the matter.