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Portage City Hall

Portage City Hall.

PORTAGE — Debra Hric told the City Council recently that she no longer feels safe in the city.

Hric, who lives in Harbor Oaks subdivision, said she wasn’t satisfied with the city’s actions recently after a neighborhood dog mauled her dog to death.

“It’s not about revenge, it is about safety,” she said.

But, said City Attorney Gregg Sobkowski, the city’s hands are tied.

“It is a practical issue. We don’t have a place to impound animals,” Sobkowski said.

Hric’s dog, Dolly, was killed the night of Aug. 30 when, she said, a neighborhood pit bull came out of nowhere, grabbed her 12-pound Shih Tzu, which was on a leash, and killed it.

The incident was reported to Portage police and animal control. The owner of the dog was ordered to quarantine his animal until the city could hold a hearing under its dangerous dog ordinance on Oct. 3.

“I feel it is a safety issue,” said Hric, who was joined by a half-dozen neighborhood residents. “You have quarantined the dog with the owner. What’s to say he’s not going to get loose again?”

Police Chief Troy Williams said it isn’t just Hric’s case. A police officer was recently injured while on a call, he said, and police were not able to take that dog.

Councilwoman Liz Modesto told Hric that they can’t take the dog to Hobart Humane Society because officials there only will hold the animal for three days. They also can’t take it to the Porter County Animal Shelter because the city doesn’t have a contract with the county agency to take animals.

Council President Mark Oprisko said the city is presently negotiating with the county, which is building a new facility on Ind. 49. If a deal is struck, they would be able to take animals there in the future.

Council members said they would also review the dangerous dog ordinance to see if there are any changes that can be made to strengthen the ordinance.

In the meantime, Williams said he would ask for extra patrol in the Harbor Oaks area by officers.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.