Hazel and the chicken: A dog’s tale
County amends dangerous dog policy
Hazel, a whippet/Labrador mix, escaped her label as a dangerous dog after a Dakota County hearing officer determined she killed at least one chicken only after being provoked by them.
Her owners, Mary Jahr and Anthony Olson of Empire Township, successfully earned Hazel the appeal that also helped prompt a policy change, as explained by Dakota County Chief Deputy Tim Leslie during the May 22 Dakota County Board meeting.
Hazel had crawled from under her fence March 19 and killed at least one chicken.
“According to testimony, they saw the dog with the chicken in its mouth,” Leslie told Sun Thisweek in an interview.
He added that breed of dog is instinctively inclined to chase chickens.
Olson and Jahr appealed the Dakota County Sheriff Department’s dangerous dog notice, hand-delivered to Olson by Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Fletcher on March 23.
The case landed before Jean Erickson, Public Services and Revenue Division deputy director, April 19.
Erickson determined Hazel had been “enticed” by one or more of Peter Kontinakas’ chickens because they were allowed to “roam freely through the neighborhood.”
Erickson found that the chickens particularly gathered along the rear fence line of Jahr and Olson’s property.
“In response, Hazel was enticed to escape her yard through the fence to chase the Kontinakas’ chickens,” Erickson concluded.
As a result, the county withdrew its notice, and Hazel will remain at home, free from the constraints put on owners of dogs who have been declared dangerous.
Under county policy, a dangerous dog is one that chases in an attitude of attack or bites human or domestic animals when unprovoked.
The dog also may have a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked.
Once a dog is declared dangerous, owners must register them, pay annual fees, have them insured and micro chipped and keep them leashed.
They must also be sterilized at the owner’s expense, and the sheriff’s office is to be updated of the dog’s residence.
Dogs who are declared dangerous may be confiscated or euthanized if owners do not comply with all restrictions.
Hazel’s case and changes in Minnesota case law prompted the county to amend its dangerous dog policy to allow owners 14 days to appeal a notice of a determination to declare their dog dangerous.