Your Dog and the Law
There is more to owning a dog than proper shelter, food, water, and regular veterinarian care. You should also know your responsibilities to the animal, your neighbors and the law.
Controlling Your Dog
The Ohio Revised Code Section 955.22 specifies that all dogs must be either confined to your property or be under reasonable control at all times. Letting your dog out the door, for instance, is not normally considered reasonable control. However, walking outside with your dog is. Members of the Dog Warden’s office will be enforcing the law and ticketing offenders who do no properly confine matter of civil practice. Special precaution should be taken with newspaper carriers and meter readers.
You can be held responsible for damages which your dog causes to another’s property or person. Imagine how your neighbor must feel when your dog runs through his garden, messes his yard, knocks over his trash can, or bites his child. Be sure to curb your dog when taking it for a walk.
It is dangerous for your dog to run at large. Dogs are no match for cars. Your dog may have fun digging in trash and garbage, but it can kill him. They could accidentally eat a sharp object or purposely eat sharp bones, both of which can puncture intestines. That irate neighbor could also kill or injure your pet.
It is against the law (ORC Sec. 959.01) to abandon your dog. Make sure that you keep him safe and you will both be happy.
Preventing a Bite
What to do if you are approached by a threatening dog:
- Do not run away unless you are sure that you can out distance the dog and find safe shelter.
- AVOID STARING
- If your stare makes him come at you or stare back at you, do not look at him straight on. Avoid looking at him, and back away one step at a time, or present the side of your body to the dog – not your front or back.
If he does grab for you, thrust something in his mouth: a purse, stick, gloves – anything but you!
- STAY CALM
- Your fear can add to the dogs confusion and cause him to bite. DO NOT SCREAM
If you are on a bike, dismount and place the bike between you and the dog.
If you cannot escape a dog attack, lay face down and cover your head with your arms. DO NOT MOVE
Immunizing Your Dog
Rabies can be contracted by any warm blooded animal, including man. It is almost always fatal. Rabies is normally transferred through a bite, which occurs only when animals are together . . . so it is safest to keep your pet confined.
Rabies immunization helps prevent contraction of the disease. You should have your dog vaccinated at four to six months of age or as your veterinarian advises. New shots are needed every one to three years, depending on the vaccine used.
DHLP-Distemper, hepatitis, lepospirosis, parainfluenza and parvo virus vaccination are also important for your pet. Your dog should have an annual check-up for and protection against heartworm.
Spay/Neuter Your Dog
Spaying/neutering prevents conception and birth of unwanted offspring, eliminates the possibility of infections of the reproductive organs that may occur later in life, helps to eliminate the desire to fight, and eliminates messy heats and spraying.
Licensing Your Dog
The Ohio Revised Code Section 955.01 states that dogs over three months of age must be licensed each year. On December 1st through January 31st, the charge is $15.00. After January 31st, there is an additional $15.00 penalty fee. Members of the Dog Warden’s Department do canvass from door-to-door and perform license checks. If you own or harbor an unlicensed dog, you will be required to purchase a license. If it is after January 31st, a penalty of $15.00 is added to the cost of each dog license.
A license is a lost dog’s ticket home. The law requires that you attach the license tag to the dog’s collar. With a valid license, you are assured that your impounded dog will be held and every attempt will be made to contact you. Without a license, your impounded dog will be held a minimum of three days. If you have a change of address or phone number, call the Dog Warden or the County Auditor with the updated information so that there will be no delay in contacting you should your dog be impounded. If you find a stray dog with a Geauga County license tag, call either the Dog Warden or the County Auditor. They will supply you with information on the dog’s ownership. Note: Dogs certifiable trained by a professional for assistance to the handicapped (seeing-eye, hearing-ear, etc.) receive free permanent licenses at the County Auditor’s Office.