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Lincoln adopts vicious dog ordinance

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Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014, 2:21 a.m.

Anyone harboring a dangerous dog in Lincoln will have to register it and take other safety measures as part of a new law.

Council on Tuesday unanimously adopted the vicious dog ordinance by a 4-0 vote. Council vice president Kris Beedle was absent.

Council president Mark Betzner said he was unaware of any such animals currently in the borough, and called the ordinance a pre-emptive action.

“If there was any type of an incident of a dog attacking anyone, we now have the capability of going back and declaring it a dangerous dog,” Betzner said. “We now can at least make them get insurance bonds ... Normally we have more problems with (wild animals) than we do domesticated animals.”

“It affords us as law enforcement, as medics and as firefighters to know if a property has a dog that has a history of bite or aggression,” police Chief Richard Bosco said. “It doesn't matter if it's a Labrador, a pit bull or a boxer. If the dog has a history of aggression, and it's documented, then they'll have to register the dog as an aggressive animal. We have none registered at this time.”

According to the ordinance, a vicious dog is any dog that, when unprovoked, inflicts bites on or attacks a person or domestic animal, either on public or private property, or approaches any person in a vicious or terrorizing manner.

The owner must provide proof that they have procured an insurance policy of at least $100,000, covering any damage or injury which may be caused by the dog. The owner must display a sign on their premises warning people that they have a vicious dog, the ordinance reads.

Council accepted the resignation of part-time officers Matthew Bissell and Josh Byers.

Bosco said Bissell served Lincoln for a little more than a year, and is leaving to take a job in North Carolina. Byers served Lincoln for nearly two years. He is leaving because of scheduling conflicts. Byers works as an officer in Port Vue and Liberty.

Council hired William Reed and Stacey Lucas as part-time police officers, pending physical and psychological exams, with a one-year probationary period.

Bosco said Reed is a Clairton officer and a Brentwood Borough School District resource officer, and Lucas worked as a security officer in Ohio and was employed as a civilian with the Ohio sheriff's department.

Lincoln has 10 part-time officers, including these resignations and hirings, and two full-time officers including Bosco.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or

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