MANHATTAN (KSNT) – Riley County leaders are considering imposing new, stricter rules on dangerous dogs.

The Riley County Commission is considering a proposal to update the county’s long-standing dangerous dog ordinance. This comes at the a request of a group of concerned citizens. The commission is looking at changing the county’s classification of a dangerous dog.

The current policy, which has been in place since 1988, considers a dog as dangerous if it attacks a human or domestic animal without provocation or is a dog kept for fighting.

Riley County Deputy Counselor Craig Cox said under the new proposed policy, a dog would considered to be “dangerous” if it attacks a person or animal and they have to get stitches or has broken bones. It would be deemed “potentially dangerous” for causing lesser injuries.

Cox hopes the proposal meets the needs of a changing community.

“With more people moving out and living in the county, in residential homes, it just became necessary to start dealing with other types of dog behavior that could or can occur,” Cox said.

A Riley County judge would decide whether a dog should be classified as “dangerous” or “potentially dangerous.” If a dog has been deemed “dangerous,” its owner would be responsible for taking extra safety precautions in order to keep the dog. This includes building a secure fence that must be at least six-feet tall and buried one-foot deep into the ground. Owners would have 14 days to comply or risk losing their dog.

Riley County Commissioner Greg McKinley says the proposal is different from other ordinances currently in place across Kansas because it’s not based on a dog’s breed.

“This specifies that it’s not just certain breeds, but certain behaviors,” McKinley said. “If they exhibit certain behaviors, then they classify as a dangerous dog.”

If approved, the proposal would likely take effect May 1.