Dog bite prompts SECC to consider new ordinance

SLEEPY EYE – Discussion about dangerous dogs and how to deal with them dominated the Sleepy Eye City Council meeting Tuesday.

Assistant City Attorney Alissa Fischer said a person was bitten in the hand and shin by a dog, a pit bull. The bite, which was five inches long, was so severe that the victim missed two weeks of work. She said the dog’s owner was notified of the bite and has 14 days to register the dog as dangerous with the city at which time a micro-chip would be implanted for a fee and a $300,000 insurance policy would be required for the owner to keep the dog.

“We determined the dog was dangerous and sent notice to the owner, who has two weeks to respond,” Fischer said. “Any dog or animal that causes unprovoked injury or damages property can create a criminal case with a misdemeanor charge.

Police Chief John Schueller said the city wasn’t equipped to handle the dog safely in its pound and the veterinarian didn’t want it so the dog remains with its owner.

“You can’t leave a dog like that out in the public,” said Councilor Dick Zinniel. “I’d like to see dogs like this confined after they bite someone. If a dog comes at police, you can put it down immediately. If you have to use your sidearm, you use it. Let’s be leaders, not followers on this.”

City Manager Mark Kober suggested creating a $500 dangerous dog fee.

“It’s not the dogs themselves. It’s the owners and how they treat them. Some people are idiots,” Zinniel said.

“You’ve got to think about the victims too.”

Kober asked Fischer to work on a new dangerous animal ordinance and bring it to the council in November.

“Make it miserable, and it’ll stop,” Kober said.

“Make it tough,” Zinniel said. After the meeting, Zinniel said the dog bite took place a couple weeks ago on the south side of town and involved one of his employees.

Schueller said the dog broke its chain and rushed the male victim before biting him on a public sidewalk.

“The victim finally got the dog to let go of him by hitting it on the head,” Zinniel said.

In other action, the city council unanimously approved resolutions for:

River Region Cooperative to tap into the Essig sewer force main. The agreement, which is effective Oct, 15, allows the City of Sleepy Eye to grab sample sewage.

Tabled consideration of Steve and Jane Eckstein’s offer to buy a lot just west of 813 Walnut St. S.W., to allow the issue could be discussed with Del Monte Corp.

Refunding Series 2005A and 2008A bonds used to buy power plant equipment, in order to save the city at least $72,000. “We’re at that interest rate today,” Kober said. “I think we can save that much.”

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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