WHEREAS, there should be a consistent and evenly applied standard for addressing and resolving vicious dog attacks in the State of Delaware;
WHEREAS, recent matters involving dangerous dogs throughout the State and in Brandywine Hundred have demonstrated that the State is not properly responding to the grave concerns of the citizens of this State with respect to continued ownership by citizens of dangerous dogs where such dogs have been involved in one or more incidents that breach the peace of injure the public;.
WHEREAS, citizens of Delaware should not need to fear or be injured by attacks from dangerous dogs;
WHEREAS, CCOBH, believes that upon notice of an incident involving a dog that has been found to be dangerous, the dangerous dog should be removed from a home or from the control of the owner when the dog, irrespective of breed, engages in additional behavior which is inherently dangerous and such dog should be destroyed;
NOW BE IT RESOLVED that the CCOBH Board of Directors calls on the Delaware General Assembly and the Governor of this State to set up an Animal Control Authority with centers in the three counties with enough personnel and equipment to do accomplish the job of animal control the way it should be done expeditious and thoroughly in an effort to protect the state’s citizens, their pets and their property.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the CCOBH Board of Directors calls on these same parties to adopt the following provisions to ensure that dangerous dogs are treated alike throughout the State:

“(a)  An animal control authority shall investigate reported incidents involving any dog that may be dangerous and shall, if possible, interview the owner and require a sworn affidavit from any person, including any animal control officer or enforcement officer, desiring to have a dog classified as dangerous. Any animal that is the subject of a dangerous dog investigation, that is not impounded with the animal control authority, shall be humanely and safely confined by the owner in a securely fenced or enclosed area pending the outcome of the investigation.

(b) After the investigation, the animal control authority shall make an initial determination as to whether there is sufficient cause to classify the dog as dangerous and shall afford the owner an opportunity for a hearing prior to making a final determination. The animal control authority shall provide written notification of the sufficient cause finding, to the owner, by registered mail, certified hand delivery, or service in conformance with the provisions relating to service of process in the Delaware Superior Court. The owner may file a written request for a hearing within 7 calendar days from the date of receipt of the notification of the sufficient cause finding and, if requested, the hearing shall be held as soon as possible, but not more than 21 calendar days and no sooner than 5 days after receipt of the request from the owner. The decision by the animal control authority following that hearing shall be conclusive and final.

(c)  Once a dog is classified as a dangerous dog, the animal control authority shall provide written notification to the owner by registered mail, certified hand delivery or service.

(d)  If a dog that has previously been declared dangerous attacks and/or injures a person or a domestic animal without provocation, the owner is guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree, punishable as provided elsewhere in the Code. In addition, the dangerous dog shall be immediately confiscated by an animal control authority, placed in quarantine, if necessary, for the proper length of time, or impounded and held for 10 business days after the owner is given written notification under, and thereafter shall destroyed in an expeditious and humane manner. This 10-day time period shall allow the owner to seek relief from the Court of Chancery as to why such dog should not be destroyed. The owner shall be responsible for payment of all boarding costs and other fees as may be required to humanely and safely keep the animal during the 10 days and the time the matter is in the Court. If the owner is not successful in keeping the dog from being destroyed as a result of any action brought, such owner shall be responsible for the fees, costs and expenses, including legal fees, of the animal control authority in connection with that action.

(e)  If a dog attacks or and injures a person who is engaged in or attempting to engage in a criminal activity at the time of the attack, the owner is not guilty of any crime specified under this section, nor is the dog subject to impoundment.”

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