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Legality of quickly killing vicious dogs asked

By Carolyn Starks
Tribune staff reporter
Published September 9, 2006

The McHenry County state's attorney's office was asked Friday for a legal opinion on whether animal control officers have the authority to euthanize dogs immediately after they are declared vicious.

"Once a dog is declared vicious, perhaps it should be euthanized and not left out there at large," said Blake Hobson, a member of the McHenry County Board's Public Health and Human Services Committee, which is fine-tuning laws that control dangerous and vicious dogs.

Currently, Animal Control uses a review process to determine whether a vicious dog should be euthanized. A judge can also make the decision.

The committee Friday began its second review of the proposed changes to the county's animal control ordinance. On Tuesday, the County Board kicked the revisions back to the committee, with some members saying they wanted tougher laws with higher fees and fines.

The proposed fees that some members felt were too low included a $35 annual fee for dogs that are not spayed or neutered and an annual $200 fee for owning a vicious dog. On Friday, Hobson asked whether it would make more sense just to have such dogs euthanized and requested a legal opinion.

The proposed changes were initiated by the county's Dangerous and Vicious Dog Task Force, formed after three pit bulls near Cary attacked six people, seriously injuring two 10-year-old children. The group spent months after the Nov. 5 attack reviewing animal control laws and recommending changes.

Saying the laws have been sufficiently reviewed, County Board member Richard Klasen said the Public Health Committee would probably not make any further revisions. The board is expected to debate the issue at its Sept. 19 meeting.

"If anybody has a problem with this, they can amend this at the County Board meeting," Klasen said.

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whatever it takes to help heal the comunitee after this tragedy, Im all for it. I know these a.c. officers and I trust their judgement and if a viciouse dog needs to be put down immediatly, they will make the right decision
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