Woods Addition resident details many issues with neighbor’s dogs, says ‘one attack is one too many’

    The Crookston City Council, Crookston Police Department and City Attorney Corky Reynolds all agreed at Monday’s council meeting to revisit the City’s animal ordinance language relating to the designation of a “dangerous” animal, after a Woods Addition resident detailed problems she and her family and neighbors have had with a family who has had more than one dog that has attacked and bitten people more than once.

    Elizabeth “Libby” Boucher addressed the council during the open forum at the start of the meeting as her husband, Dan, passed out documents to council members and City officials. After agreeing to research the ordinance for possible changes in the ensuing two weeks in advance of further discussion at the council’s Ways & Means Committee meeting on April 8, Reynolds, CPD Chief Paul Biermaier and CPD Lt. Darin Selzler were already huddling during the break between Monday’s council meeting and Ways & Means Committee meeting and discussing the current animal ordinance.

Lengthy ordeal

    Saying she wasn’t intentionally using a pun, Boucher said she thinks the animal ordinance needs more “teeth.” The primary problem with it in its current form, she said, is that an animal needs to be found to have attacked someone twice before it can be considered for designation as a “dangerous” animal.

    Boucher said she and members of her family have been attacked and bitten more than once by the same dog on their street over the past several months. The same family had another dog that was put down last year, she noted, because of similar behavior.

    Boucher stressed that the CPD has been “amazing” in their response to her family’s problems with the dog, but that the CPD is able to do only what the animal ordinance in its current form allows them to do.

    Boucher noted that she’d talked to Selzler prior to Monday’s meeting and learned from him that the dog had been impounded and will be put down.

    Even so, Boucher said, the ordinance needs stronger language when it comes to animals who attack someone a first time. “If a dog bites someone unprovoked one time, that dog is dangerous,” she said. “The ordinance only requires certain things after a second attack, but one attack is one too many.”

    Boucher also said pet owners are often a big part of the problem.

    “If one dangerous dog is removed (from the home), that can be an anomaly,” she said. “But two dangerous dogs is a pattern, a pattern of a bad owner.” Boucher requested that a beefed-up animal ordinance include language that if pet owners have two dangerous animals on their record, they not be allowed to own pets in the future in city limits.

    State statute dictates much of what municipalities can include in their animal ordinances. Boucher said in her research she’s learned that cities can be more restrictive in their ordinance than state statute, but not more lenient.

    Biermaier said he believes there are areas in the ordinance worthy of revisiting. “Definitely the dangerous dog portion,” he added.