Mifflin Township's code-enforcement officer wants to take a bite out of biters.

Mifflin Township's code-enforcement officer wants to take a bite out of biters.

Steve Blake wants to enlist all township employees in an effort to crack down on vicious dogs in the township.

Township trustees Feb. 17 agreed to Blake's request by suggesting that a memo be sent to all township employees, asking that they report any vicious dogs they observe in the township while in the course of their normal work duties.

Blake presented his request in the form of what he called his "Gizmo" resolution. It is named after a small dog that was mauled and killed Feb. 5 in the township in its owner's front yard by two stray pit bulls, one of which ripped Gizmo out of his owner's arms and his harness and then killed him.

Blake said his goal is "to get more eyes and ears out there" looking for vicious dogs.

"I'm only one person," he said.

In the past year, he said, "we've had a dramatic increase in the number of pit bulls we have seen in the township."

The increasing number of what are classified as "vicious" dogs, including pit bulls, pit bull mix, rottweilers and wolf hybrids, has led to several incidents, including one last summer in which a letter carrier was attacked by two pit bulls while delivering mail on South Woodland Avenue, Blake said.

In a letter to the trustees, Blake stated he is aware of three houses in the township that house a total of nine pit bulls, including one house that has four of the dogs and is on an intersection that has a Columbus City Schools bus stop.

Blake said he would follow up on any reports he receives of vicious dogs by contacting the residents and/or property owners to make sure they are in compliance with all legal requirements related to owning such dogs. Those requirements include having all vaccinations, a current license and making sure the dog is properly confined.

All owners of so-called vicious dogs are required by state law (ORC 955.22E) to have a $100,000 liability insurance policy for each dog, Blake told the trustees. Such a policy could cost anywhere from $700 to $1,200 a year, he said.

In studying the issue, Blake said, he learned that communities that have instituted a crackdown on vicious dogs, including making owners aware of their legal responsibilities, have seen a dramatic drop in the number of dog-attack reports.

For those who decide they can't afford to keep a vicious dog, Blake said, he would help the owner get rid of it so that the dog isn't abandoned.

Blake said his letter that he hopes the effort will "help make Mifflin Township a safer community for its residents, their children, their pets and also all that serve the community on a daily basis."

In other business, the trustees approved the expenditure of $2,895 for the installation of Websense software on the township's computer system. Township information-technology manager Paul Adkins said Websense is a Web-filtering and security-monitoring software that could track the sites employees visit.

After a virus infection on the township's computer several weeks ago, it was determined the township "needed some type of monitoring software on its system to keep this from happening again," Adkins said, adding that employees have been made aware of the change.