FROSTBURG — Disorderly Frostburg dogs now have specific rules and regulations after the mayor and City Council unanimously adopted an ordinance regulating the keeping of dogs in the city on Thursday.

“This ordinance identifies two types of dogs — a nuisance dog, which is the least offensive, and a dangerous dog, which is the most offensive,” said City Administrator John Kirby.

The ordinance, which is based upon one provided by the Humane Society of the United States, lists behaviors that would warrant the nuisance and dangerous classifications as well as corresponding regulations and consequences.

At Thursday’s meeting, the mayor and City Council agreed on an amendment that requires owners of dogs deemed dangerous to obtain public liability insurance in the amount of $300,000 for any personal injuries.

A dangerous dog is one that has been involved in an unprovoked attack on a person or domestic animal causing serious injury, which requires medical treatment.

A nuisance dog is one that without provocation chases or menaces a person or domestic animal in an aggressive manner.

The city administrator makes the determination based on official reports documented by law enforcement.

While no citizens spoke about the ordinance at the public hearing prior to the adoption, Dave Tiscione, Frostburg State University Student Government Association’s representative to the council, had a few questions about the wording of the ordinance.

“What is the definition of an aggressive manner?” asked Tiscione, who had been approached by someone who was concerned that a barking dog could be classified as acting in an aggressive manner.

Kirby explained that excessive barking alone would not be considered to be an aggressive manner; lunging at people and baring teeth are among the examples Kirby used to explain what would likely constitute an aggressive manner.

Tiscione also suggested rephrasing the definition of responsible person in the ordinance. He was concerned that the ordinance defined a responsible dog handler as being at least 18 years old.

Kirby said the part of prime importance is being able to handle the dog, not the age, and suggested amending the item to read, “a person preferably at least 18 years of age and who is familiar with the dog and/or has sufficient strength and experience handling dogs so as to be able to keep the dog under control at all times.”

The amendment was approved unanimously by the mayor and City Council.

The ordinance establishes the consequences of dangerous and nuisance dog determinations, such as providing a proper enclosure, muzzling and leash restraint.

Violations of the requirements can result in fines from $250 to $1,000, depending on how many times the offense occurs, and jail time up to 90 days.

Other items covered in the ordinance include a leash requirement, the necessity of disposing of fecal matter on both public and private property, dog licensing and dog fighting.

The ordinance is the result of an incident this summer in which at least one of two free-running pit bulls bit a small dog and its owner on the Frostburg State University campus.

The full ordinance is available at City Hall.

Contact Jennifer Raley at jraley@times-news.com.

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