We’ve seen a spike in aggressive dogs in the Bismarck-Mandan communities. Renée Cooper spoke with a woman who’s had enough with vicious dogs roaming the streets.
Bismarck resident Allison Levi says, “When I turned the corner and walked past a house, a large white dog came out of the bushes and just grabbed our Miniature Pinscher and started shaking her.”
Levi was forced to make the choice to put her dog, Maggie down, within a couple hours of the attack.
She adds, “She had a broken shoulder blade, and a broken leg and there were some other puncture wounds.”
In Bismarck there are two ordinances that a dog attack could fall under.
The first is a dog at large charge. Simply, it means the owner has their animal off leash or not securely confined while away from their own property.
When dog attacks happen, generally the owner is in violation of this Class B Misdemeanor.
The second is a civil nuisance case.
Assistant City Attorney Jason Hammes explains, “It could be proven by excessive barking, a nuisance in that regard; it could be vicious or acts aggression towards people, bit other dogs, bit other people either on or off the property.”
It’s a civil charge against the dog itself. This requires some sort of action by the owner to change the dog’s behavior.
Levi adds, “But how is law enforcement supposed to know if they do that?”
Maggie’s attacker had a previous offense in 2016, and now, that same dog attacked again last week.
Levi explains, “By then, that was the third police report. At what point do you say, ‘Enough’s enough?'”
Although the Husky-Shepherd mix was killed by a man during the final attack, it raises questions about how seriously our community is taking the influx of dog attacks.
Bismarck does not have a vicious dog ordinance like Mandan, but Hammes says Bismarck’s nuisance ordinance closely mirrors a vicious dog ordinance.
Any ordinances prohibiting specific dog breeds were repealed years ago.