Merrillville, Indiana – Lawyer Office – Dog Bite Lawyer – Vicious Animal Attack
Dog Bite Laws in the City of Merrillville
An unprovoked bite by a dog or cat does not necessarily mean that the dog or cat is dangerous or vicious. In the United States, all dogs and house cats, regardless of breed or size, are presumed to be harmless domestic animals. This presumption can be overcome with proof of a dangerous propensity as demonstrated by specific conduct of that particular animal. A dangerous propensity is the tendency of an animal to act to endanger the safety of people or other animals. Depending on the facts of a dog or cat bite case, that dog’s or cat’s biting of a person can be used as evidence of that animal’s viciousness.
Merrillville Town Code Section 5-1 defines “running at large” for animals: (a) No owner of an animal shall permit such animal to run at large at any time. All animals shall be confined to the owner’s property except when under the personal supervision of the owner, or a person delegated by him, and confined by a leash. (b) Any animal running at large shall be taken up by the police department. Any animal found at large which cannot be taken up without danger to the police officer, and which is considered to be a dangerous, fierce or vicious animal may be destroyed forthwith by the police officer. The authority given by this section shall be exercised only after reasonable efforts of capturing the animal unharmed have failed. Animals taken up by the police department shall be impounded in any shelter or veterinary hospital designated by the board of metropolitan police commissioners as an official shelter. (c) Unclaimed animals shall be confined in a humane manner for not less than three (3) days and may be disposed of in a humane manner if not claimed by their owners. Animals not claimed by their owners before the expiration of three (3) days shall become the property of the town and may be disposed of at the discretion of the police department. Any funds obtained through the sale of such animals shall be paid into the general fund. However, when animals are found running at large and their ownership is known to the police department, or can be ascertained through their license or rabies tag, such animals need not be impounded, but may be returned to their owners. The owner shall be entitled to redeem and resume possession of any licensed impounded animal upon payment of the fee established by the county pound and the boarding fee established by the county pound. An unlicensed animal may be redeemed upon payment of the required license fee, a minimum fine, as provided in section 5-7 of this Code and a boarding fee established by the county pound.
Merrillville Town Code Section 5-4 defines “fierce and dangerous animals” as the owner of any fierce, dangerous or vicious animal shall confine such animal within a building or secure enclosure on his premises and shall not take such building or secure enclosure except when leashed and muzzled. In the event that any animal shall have bitten a human being, the owner shall be required to provide proof that he carries liability insurance covering such incidents before a license is issued for the animal.
Merrillville Town Code Section 5-4.1 states for the “Maintenance of American Pit Bull Terriers” and other dangerous animals as:
(a) definitions. (1) American pit bull terrier means the breed of dog registered and described by the United Kennel Club (U.K.C.) and the American Dog Breeders Association (A.D.B.A.) as the American pit bull terrier, also known as the pit bull terrier, and any crossbreed of the American Pit Bull Terrier; but does not include the breeds known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the English Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, or the Bulldog, all of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.). (2) Dangerous animal means any animal which: a. Has, off of its owner’s property, attacked another animal or livestock; or b. Has attacked or which has attempted to attack, unprovoked, any human being, whether on or off the owner’s property; or c. Has bitten or attacked a person, unprovoked, with said injury requiring stitches and the loss of blood; or d. Has a history documented with a public agency of biting or attacking humans or domestic animals; or e. Has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack, to cause injury or otherwise threaten or endanger the safety of humans or domestic animals; or f. Has been found to be at large and has been documented to be at large by an animal control officer on three (3) or more separate occasions in a twelve-month period; or g. Is an American Pit Bull Terrier. (3) Owner means any person who owns, keeps, or harbors, regardless of duration of time, a dangerous animal within the Town of Merrillville.
(b) A person shall not own, keep or harbor within the Town of Merrillville, an American Pit Bull Terrier, or any other dangerous animal for more than forty-eight (48) hours unless such animal is licensed under this section or an application for licensing of such animal under this section is pending. Persons who may disagree with their pet being determined to be a dangerous animal must file an appeal within forty-eight (48) hours of receiving notification of that designation. The appeal will be decided by the presiding officer of the Merrillville Town Court.
(c) The owner of an American Pit Bull Terrier, or other dangerous animal shall apply to the clerk-treasurer’s office or the town’s duly authorized third party for the licensing of said animal. The application shall be on a form provided by the clerk-treasurer’s office or the town’s duly authorized third party and shall be accompanied by all of the following: (1) Verification of the owner’s name and current address by way of providing a photostatic copy of his or her driver’s license. (2) Proof that the applicant owns said animal, and is eighteen (18) years of age or older. (3) One (1) copy of a registration certificate issued for said animal by the A.K.C., U.K.C., and/or A.D.B.A., if available and applicable. (4) One (1) copy of the current immunization and health records for said animal. (5) Proof that the applicant has insurance coverage of not less than three hundred thousand dollars ($300,000.00) for any injury, damage or loss caused by said animal. (6) Two (2) photographs of said animal taken not more than one (1) month before the date of the application. One (1) photograph shall be a front view of the animal and one (1) photograph shall be a side view of said animal. (7) If said animal was previously licensed under this chapter, the name and address of any previous owner and the number of the most recent license assigned to said animal. (8) A licensing fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).
(d) If the applicant provides all the information required by subsection (b), the animal shall be licensed if: (1) The applicant agrees to inform the town’s office or its duly authorized agent of any notice or cancellation of the required liability insurance within forty-eight (48) hours of such notice or cancellation. (2) The applicant agrees to inform the clerk-treasurer’s office or its duly authorized agent of any change of address, or change of ownership of said animal. (3) The applicant meets the other requirements under this article for licensing.
(e) The license number shall be permanently marked on such animal by means of a microchip, with the owner bearing the expense of such procedure. The clerk-treasurer’s office or the town’s duly authorized third party shall issue to the owner or agent of said animal a dangerous dog license in written form which includes the number of the dangerous dog license type, dangerous dog license date of issuance and date of expiration, after the owner provides verification that such animal has received the license number micro-chip. A durable tag stamped with the license or permit number and year of issuance shall be given along with a sign stating “Beware Dangerous Animal” which must be prominently and conspicuously displayed by the owner of said animal where said animal is harbored and clearly visible from the street or alley immediately adjacent thereto.
(f) No more than one (1) animal which is a dangerous animal under this section may be licensed at the same residence or address.
(g) The owner of an animal under this ordinance must keep, harbor and maintain such animal in the confines of the owner’s dwelling, or on such person’s real property within the confines of a six-foot security fence erected on said property.
(h) The animal shall be required to have in place a muzzle and be on a leash and under the control of the owner, any time the animal is not on the real property of the owner.
(i) The clerk-treasurer’s office and/or the town’s duly authorized third party shall keep a permanent record of the name and address of the owner or agent of each animal licensed under this article and the number of ownership, name, breed, sex, color, and two (2) photographs of each animal so licensed. The clerk-treasurer’s office and/or the town’s duly authorized third party shall furnish to any law enforcement agency a true copy of these records upon request.
(j) The clerk-treasurer’s office or the town’s duly authorized third party shall keep the licensing records for animals licensed under this article separate from the records for all other breeds of animals.
(k) All licenses issued under this article shall expire January 31 of each year.
Merrillville Town Code Section 5-6 defines a “public nuisance” as any animal which shall cause serious annoyance or disturbance in the neighborhood or the residents therein by its loud, frequent, habitual or continued barking, howling, yelping, or any other noise, is hereby declared to be a nuisance. It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to keep any such animal within the corporate limits. The failure of the owner of an animal to see that animal waste material is disposed of so as to be sanitary and unoffensive to the senses shall constitute a public nuisance.
Merrillville Town Code Section 5-21 requires the following: animals biting persons. (a) Every animal which bites a person shall be promptly reported to the police department. The police department shall investigate to determine whether the animal has had its rabies shots within the one-year period of the bite. If there is proof of adequate immunization, the animal shall be quarantined by the owner for a period of fifteen (15) days and where there is no such proof, the animal shall be quarantined by the police department in any veterinary hospital or approved animal shelter and the confinement fee shall be paid by the animal’s owner. (b) In the case of a stray animal or in the case of where ownership is not known, quarantine shall be in a shelter designated by the police department, and the animal may be redeemed after the expiration of fifteen (15) days upon payment of all fines, expenses and fees. (c) Animals shall be released from quarantines only after a written certificate of a qualified licensed veterinarian is presented to the police department to the effect that the animal is free of rabies.
How a Merrillville Dog Bite Attorney Can Help with Your Dog Bite Injury Claim
If you, or a loved one, has suffered a dog or cat bite injury due to the negligence of dog or cat owner/keeper, it is important that you seek the advice of a qualified lawyer who understands the law and possesses the skill to ensure that you get justice you deserve for your loss. Do not waste your one and only opportunity to receive just compensation for your injury case by hiring the wrong lawyer. Get a lawyer that is experienced, highly rated and certified to represent you and/or your family. Get Gladish.
About Merrillville, Indiana
The Town of Merrillville is located in Northwest Indiana and was incorporated as a town in 1971. The Town of Merrillville has a population of over 36,000 residents with a balanced mixture of businesses, restaurants, shopping and residential properties. The Town of Merrillville got its name due to two brothers Dudley and William with the last name of Merrill. Dudley had operated a local hotel as well as a store in the Town of Centerville, while his son John was elected to the position of Township Trustee. The Town of Merrillville has developed into the central retail shopping location for Northwest Indiana due to the fact that US 30 runs through the town which allowed for big-box retailers, hotels, restaurants as well as a large number of auto dealerships to concentrate on both the north and south sides of US 30 which has a heavy concentration of vehicle traffic on a daily basis.
The Town of Merrillville is run by a 7-member town council with a counsel president. Merrillville Town Hall being located at 7820 Broadway, Merrillville, Indiana. The Town of Merrillville still has its own court known as the Merrillville Town Court which is also located at 7820 Broadway, Merrillville, Indiana. The Merrillville Court hears a limited number of cases that included: certain misdemeanors, tickets/infractions and ordinance violations.