ALBANY — Owning a dog deemed a potential threat to people or other animals could get more expensive in the future in Albany.
During recent discussions, some Albany city commissioners have indicated that the current requirement of $50,000 in liability insurance coverage for owners of dogs deemed dangerous is not sufficient.
Commissioners began looking at the issue after the owner of two rottweilers who viciously attacked a man a year ago made two appearances before the body this year as she sought to have the dogs, currently housed at the Albany Humane Society, returned to her home.
The issue came up again at a Tuesday commission meeting during discussion over whether to alter the current requirement of $50,000 in insurance coverage to also allow for a surety bond of an equal amount.
“That’s going to be one proposal I’m going to make next month is increasing that amount,” said Commissioner Chad Warbington, who pointed to other locations in the state that require coverage of up to $1 million for owners of dangerous dogs.
Warbington requested, and the commission approved, delaying a vote for 30 days in order to study the issue further. He also said that some mechanism should be provided allowing for dogs involved in attacks on humans to be euthanized in a more timely manner.
“The owner has been given 11 months to comply,” he said, referring to the rottweiler case. “That is more than enough time, and I think these dogs should be euthanized.”
Under the current ordinance, a $50,000 liability insurance policy is required for a person whose dog has been declared dangerous or potentially dangerous. The ordinance defines a dangerous dog as one that has severely injured a person or other animal without provocation or aggressively bites or attacks a person or another animal after being previously deemed potentially dangerous.
A potentially dangerous dog is defined as one that, without provocation, causes injury to or endangers people or other animals. It also includes dogs that have been permanently chained.
A review board determines whether an owner can retrieve a dog after an incident and makes recommendations for euthanization if deemed necessary. The dangerous dog ordinance also includes other stipulations such as confinement requirements for dogs deemed dangerous.
In addition to the two rottweilers involved in the 2019 case, Warbington said that during a visit to the Humane Society this week he saw six other dogs involved in bites on humans that are currently in quarantine while officials dispose of the cases. In most of those cases, no owner has stepped forward to claim the animals.
“I think we have a lot of work to do on the dangerous dog ordinance,” he said. “The surety bond is just a part of it.”
A number of residents have expressed concern about vicious dogs, Commissioner Jon Howard said.
Warbington said he also has heard from a number of people who will address the commission about the issue of dangerous dogs at a future meeting.