Police Chief gives opinion to council

In the opinion of Hawarden Chief of Police Corey Utech the incident fits the criteria to declare the dog vicious.

HAWARDEN—The Hawarden City Council declared during their June 26 meeting a dog to be vicious after it bit a boy.

The move, which can be appealed by the dog’s owner, Robin Pritchard, also calls for the dog to be euthanized.

According to the written report included in the council’s agenda packet, on June 19, Seth Persinger was walking a small dog on a leash on the street by the 800 block of Avenue C when a dog entered the street and attempted to attack the small dog.

When Seth went to pick up the dog, he was bitten on the hand by the loose dog. Due to the injury, Seth was taken to Hawarden Regional Healthcare.

The dog Seth was walking also suffered injuries, according to the report, and was taken to the vet.

As stated in Hawarden’s municipal code 56.01(6), “a vicious animal means any animal … that has … bitten, clawed or attacked a person and the attack was unprovoked, or … bitten, clawed or attacked another animal and caused serious injury.”

In the written opinion of Hawarden police chief Corey Utech, this case meets the criteria.

In his remarks to the city council members at the meeting, Utech said that not only was the dog unprovoked to attack, the cable keeping it tied up in its yard was inadequate since the dog was able to break free.

Utech requested the designation because the area in which the owner and the dog live has a lot of children.

“The Frog Pond area has a lot of kids,” Utech said. “There are a lot of parks, bicycle riders, lot of people walking their dogs, and I feel they have the right to feel safe down there and in their own yards. It’s kind of been a problem down there as of late.”

At this time, the dog is being kept at the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.

The city council’s decision came in two parts: first, whether or not to declare the dog to be vicious, and, if so designated, whether to give the dog a probationary period or order to be euthanized.

The council members agreed to designate the dog vicious and were not in favor of granting a probationary period, instead favoring euthanization in this case.

As councilman Rob Klocke said, “The homeowner is responsible for their dogs. You have to take care of them, make sure they can’t get out and attack other people. My opinion, this doesn’t need to come back to Hawarden.”

The decision can be appealed by Pritchard.

According to Utech after the meeting, both dogs and cats must be on leashes at all times when outside.

This rule is so that the owner has physical control over the animal at all times and gives others assurance of the same.

“I was a canine handler for almost 10 years, and in that time, I had verbal control over my dog at all times,” Utech said. “It’s about the other person walking down the street who might not feel safe because you don’t have a physical leash on it. We have to think about everybody else as opposed to just ourselves.”