Dogs still next door after attack on family’s dog; what is the law?

RELATED: Family dog attacked by 2 neighbor dogs, leg amputated

The Helms family said they are concerned for their safety because the dogs in the attack still live next door.

Many people think when a dog attacks another dog or a human, it will automatically be removed. But Ohio doesn’t have such a law, meaning that Tobie’s owners have little recourse.

“The only way to save him was to amputate his leg,” Paula Helms said. 

Tobie can’t run around much these days. He’s wearing a cone and has dozens of staples after the family said their neighbors’ two dogs mauled him last month. 

“He’s probably been on average to the ER every three days for the last two weeks,” Helms said. 

After the attack, the Helms filed a report with the West Carrollton Police Department. But there’s not much else they can do. 

“Animal control has told us that the dogs are protected unless they kill our dog,” she said. 

Michael Zimmerman, Montgomery County Animal Resource Center public information officer, agreed. 

“There's nothing in Ohio state law that says a dog can be removed. That would have to be on a case-by-case basis and that would have to be by a court order,” he said. 

An exception is for dogs deemed dangerous. There are three ways dogs can be deemed dangerous, if the dog:

  • injures a person;
  • kills another dog;
  • is on the loose three separate times (with the owner cited and convicted). 

“We encourage people if they have someone who is an irresponsible pet owner to try and get evidence of those dogs being loose,” Zimmerman said. 

The Helms family submitted proof of that in August. 

Their front door surveillance camera caught the whole attack. 

The officers did cite the owners, but the case still has to go through the court. 

Since the attack, Helms said her family fells like they’re living on the edge. 

“We’re frightened for my son. I’m frightened for my family. The dogs are still next door. It’s just a very frightening situation,” she said. 

Meanwhile, Tobie continues to improve. He had another vet appointment and his staples were removed.

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