Mayor: Dog issues will be addressed by police

Following multiple social media posts with photos of dogs running loose in the city, the Mayor told members of city council at their July 25 meeting that he had instructed the police chief to have members of the department enforce existing ordinances concerning dogs. In addition, rules for the city’s dog park will be strengthened because owners are allowing their dogs to run in the park while they sit in their cars, and then do not pick up after them, causing potential health risks to both dogs and people.


Police generally issue a warning to a resident whose dog has escaped its house or yard. When it occurs again, residents will be cited for animal running at large, a minor misdemeanor. If found guilty, a fine of up to $150 could be levied against the dog’s owner. When a dog’s owner is cited for repeatedly allowing it to run loose, charges can be upped to a fourth degree misdemeanor, which could lead to up to 30 days in jail and a fee of up to $250. (505.01 DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS RUNNING AT LARGE.)

It should be noted that if the police are not able to reach an owner to reunite them with their dog, it is then taken to the Lorain County Dog Kennel. When this happens, an owner will be charged a redemption fee to cover the costs of housing and feeding the dog. An additional charge will also be assessed for the mandated annual dog tag. Totals for both cost more than $100. (505.03 ANNUAL REGISTRATION OF DOGS; TAGS REQUIRED. This is also a state law.)

If a loose dog causes damage to public or private property, the citation could eventually lead to a civil lawsuit being filed in municipal court to recover the cost of any damage. A city ordinance provides for such recourse. (505.14 ANIMAL OWNER LIABLE FOR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY.)

Anyone who tries to interfere with the capture of an unlicensed dog can also face charges. (505.13 HINDERING CAPTURE OF UNLICENSED DOG.)

A loose dog that attacks, bites or injures a person or domestic pet is a serious matter and several ordinances cover such incidents.(505.10 ANIMAL BITES; REPORTS AND QUARANTINE.)  (505.15 KEEPING OF DANGEROUS ANIMALS.)  (505.18 OWNING, HARBORING AND CARING FOR VICIOUS DOGS; FEE.)  


An existing ordinance requires owners to clean up and properly dispose of their dog’s feces. (505.17 REMOVAL OF DOG FECES.) The ordinance applies to all areas of the city – public and private property. Filled bags should not be put down storm sewers as poop can contaminate the water supply used for drinking, cooking and bathing.


Some owners are not accompanying their dogs into the dog park and are not picking up after their dogs. During the last week of July, city service workers were forced to do that job more than three dozen times even though the city has installed a stand providing free poop bags and disposal receptacles. Many residents who use the park have expressed concern and anger about those refusing to pick up poop and dispose of it. They worry their pets could become ill with heartworm, E.coli or other diseases from stepping in infected poop. Humans can also become ill. Residents fear the park will be closed as a result of those who continue to ignore rules.

Rules for the dog park will be strengthened to require owners to accompany their dogs inside the fenced area.

Owners are not allowed to bring their dogs onto the beach at the boat launch. Signs are posted in the area. Dog feces left on the beach poses health issues for humans and can be washed into the lake.

It’s important to note that the city’s ordinances parallel those of other communities. However, enforcement of those ordinances is critical to ensure that the current situation is abated. If it does not improve, city council has the power to review ordinances and potentially increase fees for violators.

If you are aware of persons who regularly violate these laws, you can take photos – making sure they are day and time stamped, provide them to the police department with your name and contact information, which can be kept confidential.