Category Archives: BSL Rejected

Jurupa Valley CA rejects breed based spay/neuter law

At their last meeting, officials in Jurupa Valley, California, decided against a proposal that would require the pediatric mandatory sterilization of dogs deemed to be pit bulls.

The proposal was brought forward by Councilman Micheal Goodland.  Goodland made it very clear that this was not about shelter numbers, or population issues.  He is quoted in local reports, calling “pit bulls” wild animals and has stated openly that he would like to see a breed ban in place.

This follows what we have seen in California communities, where one council member makes extremely strong claims about “vicious animals” or “wild animals” and “protecting the community,” while at the same time saying that it is a shelter issue.

There were 2 votes for the proposal, and 3 against.

Two of those who voted against the proposal stated it was an issue of rights for them.  Johnston and Roughton said they could vote to take away the right of dog owners to keep their animals intact.

The other vote for the proposal, aside from Goodman who sponsored it, cited dog attacks as the reason for voting for it, claiming the spay/neuter law would reduce attacks.

As more and more research into the issue of dog attacks and the dogs sexual status emerges, we are seeing stronger correlations to the way the dog is generally cared for, sexual status being an indicator of that.

The 2 part proposal contained the mandatory sterilization of “pit bulls” as well as a proposed marketing campaign urging responsible dog ownership, including voluntary sterilization, licensing and microchipping of pets.

These sorts of campaigns have proven to be incredibly successful, but only when the municipality provides information on how to access these resources.

We hope that the council revisits the campaign, as well as looking into providing resources to low income communities, which are the most impacted in these situations.

Medford Oregon officials reject breed discriminatory law

Medford, Oregon, officials have rejected the idea of a breed discriminatory law.

The idea was initially raised by Councilor Karen Blair after a complaint of dog on dog attack in the city.

Councilor Blair had made some ill-informed statements to the media in support of a law that would have targeted dogs deemed to be pit bulls.  Blair stated that, “There are few people that can handle a dog that strong, particularly when its jaws naturally lock.”  (referencing what she called “pit bulls”)

As officials were examining possible changes to their dangerous dog laws, they accepted public input from many different sections of the community.   All presenters were professional, respectful and well versed in the latest peer reviewed studies that all state that breed is not a factor in attacks.

The first study session was widely publicized as one that considered a breed ban.  Information directly from the council showed that this option was discussed, but a large part of the conversation had centered around the problems in enforcing such a law and the failures of breed discriminatory laws to improve public safety.

Additional information from those communicating with the Council also showed the direction of the conversation was a positive one.  Correspondence indicated that only the one council member had shown any interest in such an ordinance.   The police advisory committee was formed to examine the cities options for strengthening the cities dangerous dog laws, and not to draft a breed ban, as was implied by media accounts.  Because one member of the council was interested in a ban, this took precedent in the conversation as presented by the media, overshadowing the rest of the conversation.

At the last police advisory committee meeting, held this past Tuesday, Medford police said they will propose an ordinance that would target problem dog owners and that a breed ban will not be considered.

One change being considered is increasing penalties for people who are not managing their dogs properly in the community but aside from that there are no real details as to what the proposal could contain.

The advisory committee heard many different options during their meetings.  Councilor Bob Strosser was the council representative on the committee.  Also on the committee were representatives from the local animal control, representatives of the legal interests of the town, as well as the local police department.  The committee had met several times.

During these meetings the legal representative raised concerns about the legal ramifications of a breed discriminatory law.  He recommended against a breed based law due to the cost and legal issues.

The animal control representative supported the idea of resources and programs to help dog owners in the community.  Behind the scenes, local advocates have offered help with such resources, such as spay/neuter, affordable training and licensing campaigns to bring more residents into compliance.

Councilor Strosser brought several breed neutral laws to the committee for consideration, including the recently passed Baker City law.  Baker City passed a comprehensive breed neutral law after some discussion of a breed discriminatory law.  During the Baker City meetings officials rejected information claiming one breed or type of dog as more dangerous than others as inherently biased and factually unfounded.

Interestingly, Medford is yet another case where members of the council roundly rejected the “statistics” of the pro-BDL lobby, calling into question their obvious bias and lack of reliability.

Reason prevails.  The facts are on the side of breed neutral laws, and slowly but surely we are seeing officials reject the cherry picked, media based statistics in favor of peer-reviewed and verified information.

Medford officials have some fantastic ordinances at their disposal to help craft their new law.  We look forward to seeing the results of the continuation of the rational discourse that has taken place thus far.

Thank you Cheryl Huerta, from the Portland Pit Bull Parade,  for the additional information on this issue.

Two Arkansas towns reject calls for breed discriminatory laws

This week 2 Arkansas towns that were considering breed discriminatory laws have officially rejected BDL in favor of breed neutral laws.

MONTICELLO:  After a long period of discussion, officials in Monticello Arkansas enacted a breed neutral ordinance.

Back in 2012, the council was approached by the head of the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas, asking for a ban or regulations on pit bulls.  The issue came forward and was tabled several times, while drafts were constructed and the current ordinances examined.

This Thursday officials passed a breed neutral ordinance unanimously.

The new ordinance has 2 classifications, one for vicious dogs which are defined as “any dog which had a disposition to bite humans, and any dog which had has bitten, or attempted to bite, any person within the past 12 months” and one for dangerous dogs, which are defined as having bitten, or attempted to bite, any person once it has already been labeled as a vicious dog.

Also included are some heavy fines for various violations.

Not only does the ordinance address dangerous dogs, it also addresses a variety of husbandry issues that would point to neglect, making it easier for officials to address situations of neglect in the community.

The ordinance addresses cleanliness issues and reads that, “It shall be unlawful to allow premises where any dog is kept to become unclean and a threat to the public’s health by failing to diligently and systematically remove all animal waste from the premises.”

It is now illegal for any person keeping a dog to fail to keep the area housing the dog clean, dry and sanitary. It is also now illegal for dog owners not provide protection against weather extremes as well as failing to keep fresh water available for the dog.

SPRINGDALE:  In 2013 a member of the council requested a ban after an attack he attributed to a “pit bull.”

The Mayor asked for public input and the result is an ordinance that not only is breed neutral, but one that goes out of its way to specify that dogs cannot be declared dangerous based on their breed.  In the definitions of the proposal it clearly states that breed is not a factor in considering the dangerousness of a dog.

“Potentially dangerous animal means, regardless of breed,
1) any dog or other animal that has shown a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack without provocation and is able or likely to inflict injury to another person or animal; or
2) without justification, behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death; or
3) without provocation, chases, confronts. or threatens to attack a person or domestic animal: or
4) approaches a person or domestic animal on a street, sidewalk or public or private property in a menacing fashion such as would put a reasonable person in fear of attack.”

“Vicious dog or vicious animal means, regardless of breed, any dog or other animal that has bitten or attempted to bite any person, or caused serious injury to another domestic animal or livestock without provocation and is able or likely to inflict injury to another person.”

This is a draft only at this stage, and officials may still make some changes, but the issue of breed discrimination appears to have been put to rest.

Congratulations, Springdale and Monticello officials and residents.   Through thoughtful work on these ordinances, both communities will become safer and more humane for everyone.

Waterloo Iowa rejects calls for breed discriminatory law

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:

Camanche, Iowa City Council Does Not Pursue Breed Discriminatory Legislation

Although Camanche, Iowa officials had discussed a proposal to ban pit bulls within its city limits, the city council decided not to pursue such a ban. The proposal was tabled at a September 17, 2013 meeting.

The City Attorney, Thomas Lonergan, seemed to be the main catalyst for the breed ban, asking the council to consider it at an August 6, 2013 meeting. The City Attorney seemed to be relying, in part, on the fact that the City of Clinton, Iowa was also considering an ordinance targeting pit bulls. Ironically, Clinton, Iowa decided not to move towards a breed ban, undercutting support for Mr. Lonergan’s request. Lonergan also cited to three prior Clinton attacks for the pit bull ban, and urged council members to act before an incident happened that forced them into action.

It appears the city council had no data from their own city to support the proposition that a ban was needed, and made the right decision to table the discussion.

Columbus Nebraska to change dangerous dog laws

Columbus Nebraska is re-vamping their dangerous dog laws. The City Attorney requested the changes after a Platt County judge recently ruled that owners of dogs that are deemed dangerous do not receive proper due process under the current law.

As a response to this, officials are adding an appeals process that would give the owner 48 hours to file after the declaration that the dog is dangerous.  The appeal would be heard by a panel of 3 city council members.

Most of the discussion has been very positive, centering around making the law more constitutional and holding owners responsible for the actions of their dogs. However, one Councilman has mentioned singling out certain breeds.
“Instead of a harsher sentence for owners, City Council President Ron Schilling wants exemptions from the ordinance for family pets and smaller dogs. Schilling said he would like to see breed-specific wording in the ordinance since larger dogs can inflict a more serious injury.” Full article

The proposal is now available on the cities website and we are happy to say that there is no breed discriminatory language in the changes at all.  Instead the proposal focuses on the intent of the review, creating better due process for those whose dogs are deemed dangerous or potentially dangerous.