955.222 Hearings for dog designation.

(A) The municipal court or county court that has territorial jurisdiction over the residence of the owner, keeper, or harborer of a dog shall conduct any hearing concerning the designation of the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog.

(B) If a person who is authorized to enforce this chapter has reasonable cause to believe that a dog in the person's jurisdiction is a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, the person shall notify the owner, keeper, or harborer of that dog, by certified mail or in person, of both of the following:

(1) That the person has designated the dog a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, as applicable;

(2) That the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog may request a hearing regarding the designation in accordance with this section. The notice shall include instructions for filing a request for a hearing in the county in which the dog's owner, keeper, or harborer resides.

(C) If the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog disagrees with the designation of the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, as applicable, the owner, keeper, or harborer, not later than ten days after receiving notification of the designation, may request a hearing regarding the determination. The request for a hearing shall be in writing and shall be filed with the municipal court or county court that has territorial jurisdiction over the residence of the dog's owner, keeper, or harborer. At the hearing, the person who designated the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog has the burden of proving, by clear and convincing evidence, that the dog is a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog.

The owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog or the person who designated the dog as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog may appeal the court's final determination as in any other case filed in that court.

(D) A court, upon motion of an owner, keeper, or harborer or an attorney representing the owner, keeper, or harborer, may order that the dog designated as a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog be held in the possession of the owner, keeper, or harborer until the court makes a final determination under this section or during the pendency of an appeal, as applicable. Until the court makes a final determination and during the pendency of any appeal, the dog shall be confined or restrained in accordance with the provisions of division (D) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code that apply to dangerous dogs regardless of whether the dog has been designated as a vicious dog or a nuisance dog rather than a dangerous dog. The owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog shall not be required to comply with any other requirements established in the Revised Code that concern a nuisance dog, dangerous dog, or vicious dog, as applicable, until the court makes a final determination and during the pendency of any appeal.

(E) If a dog is finally determined under this section, or on appeal as described in this section, to be a vicious dog, division (D) of section 955.11 and divisions (D) to (I) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code apply with respect to the dog and the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog as if the dog were a dangerous dog, and section 955.54 of the Revised Code applies with respect to the dog as if it were a dangerous dog, and the court shall issue an order that specifies that those provisions apply with respect to the dog and the owner, keeper, or harborer in that manner. As part of the order, the court shall require the owner, keeper, or harborer to obtain the liability insurance required under division (E)(1) of section 955.22 of the Revised Code in an amount described in division (H)(2) of section 955.99 of the Revised Code.

(F) As used in this section, "nuisance dog," "dangerous dog," and "vicious dog" have the same meanings as in section 955.11 of the Revised Code.

Added by 129th General AssemblyFile No.75, HB 14, §1, eff. 5/22/2012.