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A menacing animal ordinance is on the way 

San Luis Obispo County could soon be tightening the screws on people who improperly keep menacing or aggressive animals.

On Feb. 7, SLO County supervisors are scheduled to introduce an ordinance that, if passed at a later date, could penalize people who don’t properly confine animals that are so aggressive their behavior might be a risk to public safety.

Current codes allow officials to penalize animal owners when their animal injures another person or animal, but gives them no authority to make pet owners secure potentially dangerous animals before they’ve caused injury. The ordinance would require “the owner or keeper of any animal whose aggressive behavior indicates a potential risk to public safety to ensure that it is securely confined,” according to a county staff report.

Violators could be fined $50 for a first offense, $100 for a second offense, and $250 for each subsequent offense for a year. A county official familiar with the ordinance told New Times it was spurred by an incident involving a dog attack in the north coastal region of the county, but the issue has been brewing for a while and has the support of police departments throughout the county.

After introduction, the ordinance will come back to county supervisors for a full public hearing and a vote.

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