At last nights City Council meeting in Waterloo Iowa, city officials rejected calls for a ban or restrictions on pit bulls.
Sandie Greco, the department head of Waterloo Animal Control, told the packed City Council meeting that there will be updates to the dangerous dog laws, in a breed neutral way.
“We’re basically going for nonspecific breeds. To specify a breed to be banned does not work.“
City staff had discussed breed discriminatory ordinances with some other towns that have these laws, such as Omaha, Nebraska and Des Moines, Iowa.
Interestingly Omaha just had an article published lauding the success of their breed based law. In the article, it stated that bites from pit bulls are way down, but there has been an increase in attacks from other breeds. It would appear that despite the claimed successes of this law, officials in Waterloo were unconvinced. There is a lot to be unconvinced of, considering that, overall, Omaha is no safer than before they passed their breed based dangerous dog law. In fact, based on the numbers provided by Brent Toellner Omaha has experienced a general stasis in attacks, with the highest amount of bites in six years occurring in 2012.
Whatever it was that officials saw or heard from those other municipalities, Waterloo leaders made the right choice. The new law is set to target irresponsible owners by raising fines associated with vicious and potentially dangerous dogs, a possible reckless owner designation that would prevent repeat irresponsible owners from being allowed to own a dog for several years, and the altering and microchipping of any dog picked up by animal control. Other suggestions were made at last nights meeting as well.
The details of the ordinance are still being solidified. We look forward to seeing the results of Waterloo’s common sense approach.
When the Council has an ordinance ready for a vote, there will be hearings for public input. People should remain active in the process, in order to help draft the most effective breed neutral law possible for the welfare of the entire community.
Previous alert for Waterloo: http://stopbsl.org/2013/09/01/waterloo-iowa-officials-are-discussing-breed-based-restrictions/