SANTAQUIN, Utah (ABC4 Utah) – The Humane Society of Utah joined dog owner, Lindsay Bray and other Santaquin residents to support proposed changes to amend the city’s animal control ordinance during the Santaquin City Council meeting Thursday.
Bray hoped the changes to the ordinance would alter the death sentence given to their dog, Dexter for allegedly scratching a young girl. After hearing a proposal drafted by the Humane Society of Utah and a second proposal drafted by Santaquin City Council rejected both options and keep the existing animal code.
Dexter, a 5-year-old Australian Shepherd, escaped his yard in October 2016 and allegedly bit a young girl. According to HSU, the dog did not “break any skin,” but Santaquin’s ordinance defines a vicious dog as “a dog that has bitten, clawed, attacked, chased, harassed, pursued or worried a person without provocation.”
“We were very disappointed that the City Council chose not to work with us to make their ordinance constitutional and better for the citizens of Santaquin and their animals,” said Craig S. Cook, legal counsel for the Humane Society of Utah who is representing the Bray family. “Instead, they abruptly decided in the middle of the discussion to keep the present ordinance with all its flaws. Now, we are going to have to litigate this through the court system. People who have animals have certain rights, and the city cannot arbitrarily euthanize animals for alleged violations.”
Cook will challenge the ordinance and ask a judge to overrule it before proceeding to a court of appeals.
The Humane Society of Utah’s proposed amendments included changes for the definitions of a “dangerous dog,” a “vicious dog,” an “attack” and “serious bodily injury.” The ordinance also allowed better protection for the city and working dogs.
A second proposal, written by Santaquin City, offered an alternative option for the Council to consider which focused exclusively on the sentencing portion of the code. HSU says both proposed ordinances were shut down 3-2 after one council member motioned to vote to keep the animal control ordinance the same.