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Health board adheres to dangerous dog law
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The Dawson County Board of Health has upheld a decision by the planning department to declare a womans dog as dangerous, requiring the owner to keep the dog secured in a proper enclosure.

The ruling handed down Thursday referred to an incident that occurred Oct. 30 at a Highway 53 West residence. Sheriffs Deputies responded to a call made by Belenda Reidling that a black and brown German shepherd owned by her neighbor, Elidia Santillan, attacked her 8-week-old boxer while it was in Reidlings yard.

Planning and Zoning Director David McKee said the German shepherd had broken off its leash when it attacked the boxer.

According to state law (Dangerous Dogs, OCGA 4-8-21 (2)(c)), a dog is to be considered dangerous if while off the owners property, kills a pet animal.

Reidlings boxer died later that night at a veterinary hospital.

In a letter dated Oct. 31, Sgt. Ken Moss of the Dawson County Planning and Development told Santillan of the recommendation that the German shepherd be classified as dangerous.

The law allows for an appeals process, and Santillan elected to appeal the classification. However, the board of health unanimously voted to uphold the planning departments determination. Board member Mike Berg made the motion to sustain the determination by Sgt. Ken Moss, Dawson County Marshals Office, classifying the dog at issue as a dangerous dog. The motion was seconded by Elaine Maple and passed unanimously.

County Attorney Joey Homans presided as the hearing officer.

When a dog is classified as dangerous, the animals owner must post warning signs on the property and make sure the animal is securely enclosed within the property, effective immediately. The animal also must be registered in the county. An owner may not have more than one animal per home declared as dangerous.

McKee said the dog remains inside the Santillian residence until a proper enclosure is built.

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