Officials in Watertown Wisconsin are moving forward with a breed discriminatory ordinance.
Though the ordinance was originally much more stringent, the current form imposes extra restrictions on dogs labeled as pit bulls. Pit bull is defined as American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any dog displaying a majority of physical traits of one or more of these breeds. Under the current draft of the ordinance these breeds and those that resemble the listed breeds will be declared “high risk,” which carries with it special restrictions.
The restrictions are mandatory spay/neuter, confinement requirements, leash requirements, special registration, liability insurance, a limit of 2 dogs per household and photographs of the dog on file with the town. Also, the owner of a high risk dog cannot own the dog in a multi-family unit. There is no clear definition at this time of what a multi-family unit consists of. This definition could include those who live in a twin home depending on how it is worded. There is currently no grandfather clause that would allow people who live in a “multi-family unit” to keep their dogs.
The proposal is still in a draft form so it is extremely important that people attend the meetings being held by Watertown officials to oppose any form of breed discrimination and offer strong breed neutral alternatives. Responsible pet ownership laws are much more effective in targeting those who are not operating proper care of their animals within the community.
Officials are under the impression that they are targeting irresponsible owners by targeting dogs based on the way they look.
The committee is meeting Wednesday night, July 17th. If anyone in the area can attend to please do so. We are hearing that they may not allow any public comment at this meeting but a strong physical presence is still needed to let officials know that they are targeting the wrong end of the leash. The meeting starts at 5pm in room 8, 106 Jones Street. This item is last on the agenda.