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October 19, 2002 - Vicious dog classification is upheld

A Bellevue man's appeal to the Nebraska Humane Society over a decision to declare his dog vicious has been denied. Matt Hull, who lives near 52nd and Harrison Streets, appealed the classification as vicious of his female bull mastiff, Casey, in front of a three-person panel Oct. 10.

Casey was declared vicious, the first such classification in Bellevue, after animal control officers say it bit a 7-year-old neighbor boy in the leg once in May and again Sept. 19. Casey escaped under a loose fence both times. Hull's wife, Pamela, said the fence has been fixed. She said her husband decided to challenge the label because Casey is not vicious. "She's friendly with anybody that comes over," Pamela Hull said.

Humane Society spokeswoman Pam Wiese said the law, passed by the Bellevue City Council in June, states that an animal can be declared vicious if it bites someone twice in one year. An animal also can be considered vicious if it is not under the control of an owner. Under the law, owners of vicious dogs in Bellevue must obtain at least $500,000 of liability insurance and keep the dog secured in a labeled 6-foot-tall covered pen. When the dog is out in public, it must be muzzled and kept on a 3-foot leash.

The Hulls have 30 days to comply with the rules, but Pamela Hull said that insurance has been purchased and that she and her husband are complying with the additional rules. The Hulls also were ticketed for Casey being at large. If the Hulls want to contest the ticket, they will have to go to court Nov. 6. If found guilty, they face a fine of between $50 and $300.

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