A pair of vicious dog citations were issued in the aftermath of a dog attack at a Memphis residence that left a total of four family pets deceased.
According to the Memphis Police Department, A PAIR OF PIT BULL-CROSS DOGS entered the yard of the Alan and Tammy Adams residence at 517 W. Missouri Street. The two dogs allegedly killed the Adams’ cat and their dog before both attackers were shot and killed by a resident of the home.
Citations were issued to the dogs’ owners, Christopher M. Kissell, 30, and Cody R. Kissell, 22, of Memphis, for being in violation of the city vicious dog ordinance. No citations were issued for discharging a firearm within city limits.
Missouri statute 273.033 states “In any action for damages or a criminal prosecution against any person for killing or injuring a dog, a showing by a preponderance of the evidence that such person was in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful contact by the dog or was acting to prevent such imminent harmful contact against another person by the dog shall constitute an absolute defense to criminal prosecution or civil liability for the killing or injuring of such animal. The court shall award attorney’s fees, court costs, and all reasonable expenses incurred by the defendant in defense of any criminal prosecution or in any civil action brought by a plaintiff if the court finds that the defendant has an absolute defense.”
Missouri Statute 273.030 authorizes any person, who has discovered any dog(s) in the act of killing, wounding or chasing other animals, to immediately pursue and kill the attacking dogs so long as they are not killed in any enclosure belonging to, or being in lawful possession of the dogs’ owner.
City ordinance defines vicious dogs as any canine that without provocation has bitten or attempted to bite a person or has placed any person in apprehension of immediate serious physical injury, or that has killed another dog, cat or domestic animal. Any pit bull dog is considered a vicious dog by definition.
It is illegal to keep a vicious dog in city limits, unless it is done so in confinement of a home or a locked pen or kennel, which includes a secured floor and top. The ordinance also requires display of beware of dog signage on the kennel and/or home.
City Marshall Bill Holland noted the most difficult part of enforcing the vicious dog ordinance is identifying pit bulls, which basically depends on the owner disclosing the dog’s breed and voluntarily adhering to the guidelines.