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Dog declared dangerous


Jared Armstrong, of Electric City, is shown with his dog, Felicia, a 10-month-old mixed breed, who was declared "dangerous" by the city council. Armstrong maintains the dog is friendly and harmless and plans to appeal the decision. - Roger S. Lucas photo

A dog owned by a city employee in Electric City was declared a "dangerous dog" at the council meeting last Tuesday night.

The owner of the dog, Jared L. Armstrong, of 32 Hillcrest Place, who is an employee of the city's public works department, appeared to defend his dog.

The gray, tan and white dog with spots, named Felicia, about 40 pounds, was described by Armstrong as nothing more than a 10-month-old puppy.

"I would have brought him tonight and he would have probably licked all of you and piddled on the floor, and Jackie would have made me clean it up," Armstrong said. He was referring to Jackie Perman, the city clerk, who was ill and not at the meeting. Felicia is a mixed breed, and Armstrong has had the dog since it was very young.

The council had only a police report to go on, but received some support from Anna Franz, an attorney with the city's law firm, who was at the meeting, and read the state's definition of a "dangerous dog." She advised that the city didn't have a choice.

The police report had stated that Armstrong's dog had so mangled a cat that the cat had to be euthanized.

Armstrong countered that the area is alive with feral cats and that the city needs to do something about it. Public Works director Ken Dexter stated that the city has not a dog problem, but a cat problem, but then was quieted by Mayor John Nordine II.

Police Chief John Tufts, who was at the meeting, agreed to the "dangerous dog" designation.

Armstrong said his dog is playful, even with deer when they come into the yard.

He stated that the cat in question is a feral cat and there are a lot of feral cats in the area. "The city needs to do something about the cats," he said.

He said his dog is always on a leash and has a run in the yard where the leash is tied to a cable so the dog can't get loose.

The incident with the cat had occurred when Armstrong's wife had the dog on a leash and opened the door to take it outside. When she opened the door, there was a feral cat on the porch and Felicia pulled the leash from her hand, chasing after the cat.

Armstrong now has five days from the time he receives a letter from the city that his dog has been declared "dangerous" to file an appeal that would go to municipal court.

"I am going to appeal this," Armstrong said.

A visit to see the dog revealed a tail-wagging older pup who was glad to see even a stranger. The dog never stopped wagging its tail and greeting me. The dog was so excited that it was difficult to get it to sit still for a photograph.

If the declaration stands, according to city ordinance, Armstrong would have to put the dog in a pen with a "dangerous dog" sign on it that could be read from a distance. He would also have to carry liability insurance on the dog.

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