WARREN Residents seek tougher dog laws

The mayor said he proposed such legislation last year but council didn't act on it.
WARREN -- A Brighton Street man is joining a chorus of residents who want a tighter leash on the city's ordinance addressing vicious dogs.
Joe Peterson told council Wednesday one of his neighbors owns three Rottweilers that have attacked him, his wife and other neighbors. The post office stopped mail delivery last year because of the animals.
"We need to change the law on that," he said.
Earlier this week, the city's animal control officer, John Onatz, pulled a boy from a pit bull's jaws on Delaware Avenue Southwest. Police officers shot and killed the dog.
The attacks have prompted council members and the administration to resume discussions of strengthening the city's dog ordinance.
Mayor Hank Angelo said he proposed legislation in July to strengthen the ordinance, listing the breeds that qualify as vicious.
"Of the 12 incidents we've had with dogs, nine of them were with pit bulls," he said.
Insurance coverage: The ordinance also would have required owners of vicious dogs to increase their insurance coverage.
Council didn't act on the ordinance, Angelo said.
Law Director Greg Hicks obtained approval this week from the municipal court judges to enable Onatz to issue summonses to people Onatz witnesses violating the city's dog ordinances.
A summons directs the violator to appear in court. An arrest warrant may be issued for those who fail to appear.
Under the ordinance, a vicious dog, defined as one with a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, must be confined.
"We are not taking lightly the seriousness of this," Hicks said.
Alford L. Novak, D-2nd, said he requested that Hicks seek the additional authority for Onatz.
Enforcement issue: Susan E. Hartman, D-7th, pointed out that it doesn't matter how strong the law is if there isn't sufficient personnel to enforce it. She's asked that money be included in the next appropriation to hire a part-time person to assist the animal control officer.
Council passed a resolution endorsing the Trumbull LifeLines 1-mill levy on the May 7 ballot.
Hartman cast the dissenting vote, saying she expected it to be on the agenda for first reading. She said she hadn't researched it sufficiently to recommend to her constituents that they support the levy.
LifeLines is the funding source for 23 agencies that provide substance abuse and mental health services to more than 29,000 county residents.
Voters rejected the levy in November, resulting in about $900,000 in cuts.

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