GLENWOOD | Pet owners who have dogs deemed dangerous will need to meet certain requirements as outlined in an ordinance the Village Board adopted last week.
"The ordinance is designed to make people be more responsible for their dog," Police Chief Demitrous Cook said.
Glenwood police can take custody of a dog that has attacked a person or someone's animal and have a determination made as to whether the animal is considered dangerous.
Some characteristics of a dangerous dog as defined in the ordinance are those which attack a human being or domestic animal without provocation, dogs trained as attack dogs or harbored for the purpose of dog fighting and dogs which approach people in a vicious or terrorizing manner.
"All it does is gives us the teeth for enforcement that we did not have," Village President Kerry Durkin said.
One requirement involving dogs labeled dangerous are that the animals be confined indoors or in a locked pen or dog run area on the owner's property. The pen or dog run area must have sides at least 6 feet high and a secure top.
If a dangerous dog is not properly enclosed, it can be impounded by police or an animal control officer and subjected to lethal injection.
Such dogs do not have to be contained in instances such as transportation or exercise, as long as the dog is properly leashed and muzzled.
Owners of dangerous dogs also will have to display prominently on their property a sign with the words Beware of Dangerous Dog. A similar sign will also need to be placed on the kennel or pen of the animal.
A person with a dangerous dog will also be required to maintain an insurance policy of at least $100,000 to insure the owner against any claims resulting from the dog's actions.
The owner will have to pay to have the animal spayed or neutered and to implant a microchip for identification.
Violations will result in a minimum fine of $200 for the first offense, with penalties increasing thereafter.
"I'm not in the business of putting people's dogs down, but people have to take responsibility when their dog can get off their property and roam the neighborhood and terrorize kids and things of that nature," Cook said.
He said he has noticed a lot of pit bulls and Cane Corsos in the village and that a recent situation occurred in which a pit bull kept jumping a fence to get at a neighbor woman's bull dog, which was injured.
"She was afraid to let her children in the yard," Cook said.
Cook said he was once chased by a pit bull while walking in the village and that Glenwood officers have twice had to shoot pit bulls.
Durkin said the village's animal control officer is out every day rounding up dogs that are then kept in a pound at the public works facility.
"Because of our proximity to the forest preserve, we get a lot of animals that are just dumped out here, dogs and cats that are dumped in the woods that become a nuisance in the town," Durkin said. "But if we can find out whose dog that is, that's what the teeth of the ordinance is, to fine them."
Lansing is another local village that has an ordinance on the books regarding dangerous dogs.
Like Glenwood, owners with dogs considered dangerous in Lansing must maintain a minimum of $100,000 in insurance coverage, display visible warning signs and have microchips installed.
Owners of dangerous dogs in Lansing must keep them confined indoors or in a locked pen or structure with minimum dimensions of 5 feet by 10 feet.
Lansing owners of dangerous dogs must also notify the police immediately if the animal is unconfined, on the loose or has attacked a human being or domestic animal.