The Paso Robles City Council passed an ordinance on March 4 that creates penalties for owners of animals that might be considered a potential danger to the community.
The Menacing and Aggressive Animal Ordinance will give the SLO County Division of Animal Services officials the ability to notify and levy penalties on the owner if an animal continually exhibits aggressive behavior that could pose a threat of bodily harm to people on public property. If a dog repeatedly runs toward people walking by a yard, for instance, and all that stands between the animal and the sidewalk is a rickety or dilapidated fence, officials may notify the owner and require the necessary repairs. If an animal owner is found to be in violation of the ordinance, he or she may be penalized with a $100 fine. A second violation within a year will bring a $200 fine, and a $500 fine will follow for any subsequent violations in the year. If consistent violations occur with a renting tenant, the landlord or property owner may be required to resolve the issue or be fined.
Paso Robles Chief Robert Burton told the council that the ordinance enables preventative measures that previously weren’t available; before, an aggressive dog had to bite someone to trigger a response. San Luis Obispo County passed a similar ordinance in 2012.
-- Melody DeMeritt - former city council member, Morro Bay