Category Archives: Proposal to Repeal

Waterloo Wisconsin considering repeal of breed restrictions

Waterloo Wisconsin has a long standing breed discriminatory law.

Enacted in 1996, the ordinance targets the following dogs:

(1)The pit bull terrier breed of dog. (2) The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog. (3) The American pit bull terrier breed of dog. (4) The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog. (5) Dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than listed under Subsections (1) to (4) above whose breed or mixed breed is commonly known as “pit bull,” “pit bull dog” or “pit bull terrier.”

The ordinance declares these dogs and their mixes vicious and imposes restrictions on them.  Dogs that are targeted must be muzzled, on a leash of a certain length, confined to the specifications of the ordinance, both inside and outside the house, targeted dogs are not allowed to live in multi-dwelling housing and signs must be posted.  These rules apply to dogs that have been declared vicious by their behaviors, as well as those who are determined to be a targeted breed.  (full code)

Recently Watertown WI refused to pass a breed discriminatory law that is extremely similar to Waterloo’s ordinance.  Most likely Watertown officials had their proposal drafted from Waterloo’s law.  Officials in Waterloo took notice of the issue, and are now looking to revamp their own laws.

Alderwoman Laura Cotting suggested removing the breed discriminatory language at the October 3rd meeting of the Health and Safety Committee.  The Police Chief, Alderman Dale Van Holten and residents are all supportive of the changes.  They will be reviewing Watertown’s new ordinance for ideas on how to improve their own laws.

This is the perfect example of how passage or defeat of a breed discriminatory law causes a ripple effect in neighboring communities.

Those in the Waterloo area should attend the meetings to express support for a repeal.

Or you can politely, professionally and factually express support for a change to breed neutral.  Officials need encouragement from the community to know that they are supported in repealing the old breed based law.

MAYOR, Robert H. Thompson:  mayor@waterloowi.us
Alderperson at Large Angie Stinnett:  angie.stinnett@yahoo.com
Alderperson at Large Dale Van Holten:  dvdutchvh1@gmail.com
Alderperson at Large Jeni Quimby:  jeni@highenergydj.com
Alderperson Ward 1, Matt Ziaja:  matt.ziaja@gmail.com
Alderperson Ward 2, William Springer:  bspringr@charter.net
Alderperson Ward 3, Laura Cotting:  cottingel@gmail.com
Alderperson Ward 4 & 5 Lindsay Reynolds:  kittymania8@gmail.com

Norwalk Ohio considering repeal of discriminatory law

For many years the state of Ohio considered dogs deemed to be pit bulls vicious based solely on appearances.  As with all these laws, it is a misnomer to say that this law was based on breed because the actual breed of the dog was not considered, just that the dog looked a certain way.

After years of hard work involving many people and groups, the breed specific portion of state law was dropped in 2012.  We have seen many repeals on the smaller municipal level in response to this.  Now it appears that Norwalk may follow suit.

City Law Director Stuart O’Hara has said that the state law sufficiently covers the needs of the community when dealing with dangerous dogs, implying that local law should mirror state law.

Currently Norwalk’s ordinance classifies a dog deemed to be a pit bull as vicious, mirroring the old state law. From the ordinance:

(d)“Vicious dog” means a dog that meets any of the following: (3)Except as set forth herein below, belongs to a breed of dog commonly known as pit bull dog. The ownership, keeping or harboring of such a dog shall be prima-facie evidence of the ownership, keeping or harboring of a vicious dog…

This declaration of being vicious carries a long list of requirements, including confinement (kennel) requirements, muzzling, insurance and special registration. The full ordinance can be found here.

Residents and locals: Please reach out to offer encouragement and support for a repeal of Norwalk’s breed discriminatory law.

Council information:

Steve Euton: euton1@frontier.com

Deborah Lucal: dlucal15@aol.com

Robert Carleton: bcarleton1942@gmail.com

Samantha Ludwig: samludwig10@gmail.com

Chris Mushett: cmushett@hcjpc.com

Kelly Beck: kellysarahbeck@aol.com

Scott Meyer: ripwing212@aol.com

Stephen Schumm: sfschumm@aol.com

Waterford Michigan to hear repeal of ban June 10th

The repeal of Waterford Michigan’s long-standing breed ban will be heard for the first time during their June 10th township meeting.

The leg work of the repeal is being headed up by O.D.O.G.S, Oakland County Dog Ownership Group and Specialists. The group was founded by Mary Dunham after her dog was determined by Waterford officials to be a targeted dog. A DNA test was conducted after the township demanded it. The test determined that the dog, Keane, had no DNA from any targeted breed, and was mostly a lab.

O.D.O.G.S drafted a responsible pet ownership ordinance that would take the place of the current breed discriminatory law and has been working for some months now to educate the community about what a repeal would mean for everyone and to address concerns. The proposal was submitted on January 7th and officials have been taking their time reviewing all the information submitted to them.

The ban, which was enacted in 1989, includes any dog with even 1% of a targeted breed.  There are 3 breeds singled out, American Staffordshire Terrier Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier.  The ordinance is extremely broad sweeping in its language.  From the ordinance:

Pit bull or pit bull terrier means any dog which exhibits those phenotypical characteristics which:(1) Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the American Kennel Club for American Staffordshire Terriers or Staffordshire Bull Terriers.(2) Substantially conform to the breed standards established by the United Kennel Club for American Pit Bull Terriers. The standards of the United Kennel Club referred to herein as “Appendix A,” shall remain on file with the Township Clerk. Technical deficiencies in the dog’s conformance to the standards of this definition shall not be construed to indicate that the subject dog is not a “pit bull terrier” under this article.

This definition, with the inclusion of the language about technical deficiencies, casts such a wide net that virtually every short-haired dog becomes a target.

The ordinance is an interesting study because they include the reasons for passing it. Two particularly interesting pieces are found in Section 3-078 item (g)”4. The pit bull terriers’ massive canine jaws can crush a victim with up to two thousand (2,000) pounds of pressure per square inch, three (3) times that of a German shepherd or doberman pinscher, making the pit bull’s jaws the strongest of any animal, per pound.

5. The breeds are almost impossible to confine without resorting to fortress-like measures; pit bull terriers can climb over high chain link fences and trees, tear metal sheeting with its teeth, attack through chain link fencing, tear loose its collars, and dig under fences and walls, requiring the adoption of breed-specific restrictions on the care and custody of licensed pit bull terriers for the protection of the citizens of this community.”

Thanks to Dr. Brady Barr, we now know that the bite force of a “pit bull” is weaker than other breeds of dogs and other studies have shown that jaw strength is directly related to the size of the dog’s head, the larger the head, the stronger the jaw.  Section (5) is an amazing example of urban legend in action within the law.

Waterford is utilizing the materials from the UKC to visually make the determination a dog is banned.  The UKC has publicly and repeatedly announced that the use of their standards  and literature to enforce a breed discriminatory law is a violation of their copyright and an abuse of the material.

There is really not much of anything else regarding dangerous dogs in the code of ordinances.  They have 2 classifications of nuisance dogs but none for a potentially dangerous or dangerous dog. Dogs that bark excessively and dogs that “habitually attack other domestic animals” are the same by classification.

Waterford’s current laws are the perfect example of a complete failure to address the issues that cause dangerous dogs in any meaningful fashion, while allowing people to have the feeling they are protected.  The thinness of the law should be extremely concerning to all residents. The responsible pet ownership proposal will cover the gaping holes in the current law and protect all members of the community.

The proposal can be viewed here.

Waterford residents: Please attend the meeting to urge officials to help make the community safer by enacting the proposal and repealing the ban. The information the ban was relying on is outdated and the current law insufficient to affect community safety.  A change is needed and now is that opportunity for change.

South Bend Indiana is drafting changes to animal ordinance

Prompted by high euthanasia rates, City Councilwoman Valerie Schey has formed a committee to re-vamp South Bends laws regarding Animal Care and Control.

A committee has been formed to evaluate and re-draft the section of South bends code of ordinances relating to animals. The purpose of the committee is to create a more animal friendly and enforceable ordinance that would allow officials to better protect all members of the community, two and four-legged. One of the changes on the table is a repeal of the breed discriminatory section of the law. You can read more about the other changes being sought here.

South Bend has had a breed discriminatory law in place since 1987. The law restricts American Pit Bull Terriers and those resembling this breed only.  They are very clear in the definition that American Pit Bull Terrier is defined as the UKC (United Kennel Club) and ADBA (American Dog Breeders Association) standard but does not include the other breeds we usually see in these ordinances. Under section F. of the definitions we can see the breeds excluded from the ordinance:

” American Pit Bull Terrier means the breed of dog registered and described by the United Kennel Club (U.K.C) and the American Dog Breeders Association (A.D.B.A.) as the American Pit Bull Terrier, also known as the pit bull terrier, and any crossbreed of the American Pit Bull Terrier; but does not include the breeds known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the English Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, or the Bulldog, all of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (A.K.C.).”

There really is no better way to convolute the enforcement of a breed discriminatory law than to take two very closely related breeds, so closely related that there is some debate about whether the two are the same breed, and restrict one but not the other.  Breed discriminatory laws are hard enough to enforce.

There is a long list of restrictions that must be met in order to have a targeted dog. An owner must have special registration, 2 photographs of the dog on file, $300,000 in insurance, a tattoo of the license number on the dog or microchip, breeding regulations and confinement regulations. This is just a summation of the restrictions. For a full list you can view the full code, Chapter 5, article 4.5.

The committee has set a schedule that would have the ordinance ready by the end of the month.

At this time the changes are still in their drafting stage, but residents should reach out to express polite and professional support for the changes being sought.

Thank you, Erin, for the information.

Osawtomie Kansas to review breed discriminatory ordinance

At the request of a resident who was targeted as the owner of a banned dog the city council in Osawtomie, Kansas is reviewing their breed discriminatory law.

A boxer mix was recently targeted as a banned dog, after being stopped by a police officer while being walked by it’s owner.  The dog had lived  in the community, without incident, for a year, when the owner was stopped. The owner was told he would have to remove the dog from the city, which he did.  This has brought the issue of the ban and whether or not it has worked for the community to the attention of City Council.

This past Thursday City Councilwoman Tamara Maichels formally raised the issue, along with a panel of dog experts from the community.

The council was presented with information, statistics and testimony that firmly disputes the basis for the ban.

A committee has been appointed to review the information provided and has been charged with the task of making a recommendation to the city council. Maichels plans to bring the committees recommendations to the May 9th council meeting.

Recommendations from experts and advocates in the community are stressing the importance of owner responsibility when addressing dangerous dogs in the community.

Residents only: Councilwoman Maichels has said that they want to hear what their constituents have to say, so it is very important to reach out and express support for putting the responsibility where it belongs, on the owners. Please remember to be factual and unemotional in any correspondences. Community safety is the number one priority for officials and breed neutral laws would go far to creating a safer community by freeing resources to address problem owners and protecting the citizens of Osawtomie from all dangerous dogs, regardless of their appearance.

If you are able to attend the May 9th meeting to show support for a repeal of Osawtomie’s ban please do so.

Wooster Ohio sets date to hear repeal

A repeal of Wooster Ohio’s breed discriminatory law has been set for its first date.  The topic has been added to the agenda for the April 15th council meeting, 7:30 PM.

In 2000 Wooster banned dogs they defined as a “Pit Bull dog”.  In the ordinance a banned dog is defined as

 “Pit Bull dog” shall include, but not be limited to, any of the following: American Pit Bull Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier, or any mixed breed of dog which includes as an element of its breeding any of the aforementioned breeds as to be identifiable as partially of any of the aforementioned breeds.

We have been given a copy of the proposed changes to the law that would make Wooster a breed neutral community. Wooster’s proposed animal law changes can be found here.

The proposed changes strengthen Wooster’s dog laws in many ways that will be good for the community. Wooster will no doubt see many benefits in enacting this legislation.

Wooster residents: Please reach out to officials to briefly and politely ask them to support Ordinance 2013-16, an Ordinance Amending Chapter 505 of the Wooster code of ordinances. Contact information for officials can be found here.

Thank you, Robin, for the information.

Springfield Missouri is considering repealing breed specific law

A task force has been formed to evaluate Springfield Missouri’s dangerous dog laws. The task force, which is made up of a variety of citizens in Springfield, is looking at creating a breed neutral law.

Springfield passed restrictions on pit bull type dogs in 2006.

  • Owners must register pit bulls with Springfield Animal Control. Registration will take place at the animal shelter by appointment only.
  • At the time of registration, owners must provide proof of rabies vaccination for the pit bull.
  • Owners must also pay an annual registration fee of $50 for each pit bull.
  • Owners must have a microchip inserted under the dog’s skin. This service can be provided by Animal Shelter staff at time of registration and is included in the $50 registration fee. Alternatively, owners can have the procedure done at a veterinarian’s office and provide written proof to Animal Shelter staff at time of registration.
  • Owners must ensure the dog is spayed or neutered, unless it is AKC or UKC registered and actively competing.
  • Owners must keep the dog in a secured enclosure while on the owner’s property. (See definition in City Code section 18-7)
  • Owners must post a sign at least 8″x10″ stating “Pit Bull Dog” at each entrance to the owner’s property.
  • Owners must keep the pit bull leashed and muzzled while not on the owner’s property.
  • Owners must notify staff of the City Manager or his authorized representative within 5 days if the pit bull is lost, stolen, dies or has puppies.
  • New litters of puppies must be removed from city limits or taken to the Springfield Animal Shelter unless they are registered according to the guidelines listed above.

One of the striking things about the conversation that has happened in Springfield, since the ordinances inception, is how officials have called it a success.  Indeed, even in this news report about the repeal, officials cite its success.  The truth behind these statements has been rather eloquently addressed already by Brent Toellner, KC Dog Blog, in his post “Defining ‘Working‘–Springfield Missouri Edition.”

Mary Collette, one of the members of the task force said, “Perhaps not looking at having our ordinance be breed-specific in any way, but we could have it be vicious animal specific which is really what we are trying to get at anyway.  That is really how you are going to reduce the bites and damage…We’re hoping we can bring our ordinances in line with what is a little more progressive and actually more productive in curbing animal attacks and bites.”

When the task force comes back with their conclusions we will update accordingly.  As of right now this is still in the information gathering stages.