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.

2 responses to “South Bend Indiana is drafting changes to animal ordinance

  1. I did a speech on BSL in South Bend and Mishawaka for a class about six months ago; I’m so excited that changes could be happening this quickly, and I knew that alerting the Stop BSL community to what’s going on in our area would be an excellent way to inform advocates all over! So thanks, Stop BSL, for sharing the story!

  2. I wish someone would bring one of these laws in front of the Supreme Court.

    This HAS to be unconstitutional.