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Oacoma OKs dog-breed ban

OACOMA -- The Oacoma town board recently upheld its vicious dog ordinance after a resident requested it be amended.

Jessica Countryman-Vennard asked the board at the Aug. 15 meeting to amend its ordinance to allow pit bull terriers already living in the city to remain with their owners. The board declined the request and left the existing ordinance in place, which bans various breeds from the city. The only exceptions are for dogs that lived in the city prior to the ordinance's adoption in 1987.

Residents had complained about pit bulls owned by an Oacoma resident, said Val Moore, city finance director.

Countryman-Vennard originally approached Moore to get a license for two dogs.

"I informed the resident of the ordinance and she contacted my town board members," Moore said. "They said if you have a request, make it to come to the next meeting."

Countryman-Vennard presented ownership, health and vaccine records to the board. All members denied her request to amend the ordinance. They commended her for her safety efforts but said they have to uphold the ordinance as is, Moore said.

The ordinance doesn't only pertain to pit bull terriers. It specifically refers to any dog of the bull terrier breed, including bull terriers mixed with Staffordshire terriers, German shepherds, Doberman pinschers or any other breed. It also defines dangerous or vicious dogs as "any dog that bites or attempts to bite any person while such dog is at large" or attempts to attack, attacks or chases a person, other dog or animal.

In the 12 years Moore has been employed by the city, she can remember one incident involving a vicious dog. A chowchow mix that had "a foul disposition" attacked a neighbor's bichon, mauling it severely, she said. The owner voluntarily had the dog destroyed, recognizing the dog was dangerous, she said.