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All dogs in Hinsdale must be on a leash when not on their owners’ property, following the Hinsdale Village Board amending its animal regulations Tuesday.

The only exception is the northern section of Katherine Legge Memorial Park during certain hours.

The board also gave the Police Department the authority to temporarily impound a dog at the Hinsdale Animal Society if the chief of police or somewhat he designates thinks the dog is a danger to the public health and safety.

The board voted 4-0 to approve the changes, effective immediately.

The village will mail a notice about the leash ordinance to all registered dog owners in the village and post information at the train station and on social media.

Village officials have been debating how to better protect people and their pets after residents complained that a dog that attacked and injured a woman in August had a history of attacking and harming other dogs.

Board members acknowledged that many dogs are harmless and can be walked safely without a leash, but they recognized that a person cannot be sure whether a dog they do not know is aggressive or not. Merely seeing an unleashed dog approach can cause anxiety for many people, board members said in voting to require leashes.

“I vowed to keep an open mind,” board member Neale Byrnes said.

While the board received some well-reasoned letters from people opposed to requiring leashes for all dogs, Byrnes said, he decided leashes are needed for the safety of all residents.

The leash cannot be more than 10 feet long, per village ordinance.

The fine is $25 for the first violation, $35 for the second offense and $50 for the third and subsequent violations, Police Chief Brian King said.

Among the reasons the village might impound a dog are if a dog bit a person another dog or a cat, and the animal required veterinary care because of the bite.

The ordinance suggests a dog might be forgiven for biting another animal or stranger on its owner’s property, as a form of defense.

The criteria includes whether “the dog or dog owner has past incidents of similar behavior.”

“It’s based on the seriousness of the attack and the history of the animal,” King said.

The dog would remain impounded, at the owner’s expense, until the DuPage County Animal Services or Cook County Animal Control completes an investigation into the bite and determines whether the dog is dangerous or vicious, which would carry fines and a range of restrictions, such as muzzling the dog whenever it’s on public property.

The dog owner may appeal the impound decisions to the village manager, who will have five days to determine whether the dog should be confined.

The village will report all dog bites, whether a human or an animal is bitten, to the appropriate county animal control department, King said.

kfornek@pioneerlocal.com

Twitter @kfDoings



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