Category Archives: BSL Proposed

Three Cities in Pope County Arkansas Considering Breed Discriminatory Legislation: Dardanelle, Dover and Pottsville

Three cities within Pope County, Arkansas are considering breed discriminatory legislation. Proponents have been strong fighting for BDL, and it is only by reaching out to officials and actually attending the meetings that breed discriminatory legislation will be defeated. Proponents are using the fact that Russellville, the county seat has a breed specific ordinance, and using that as precedent.

Of note is the fact that there have been no incidents, nor is there any bite data in any of these three cities that regulation is needed. They are using the same justification that Boston used for targeting pit bulls, saying that there is an “increase in criminals using vicious dogs, especially pit bulls to guard drug houses.” Of course, this is not a real reason to pass such a law. It is a smokescreen and playing on the fear of the public of crime in general. We need safer communities for everyone from all dangerous dogs, not a specific breed. The meetings and contacts are listed in the chronological order of upcoming meetings. Pottsville’s meeting is tomorrow! Dover’s meeting is this Tuesday!

Pottsville, Arkansas

The Pottsville ordinance was previously tabled, but will be reconsidered on Monday, September 30, 2013.

City of Pottsville, Arkansas
City Hall
173 E. Ash Street
Pottsville, AR 72858
Phone: (479) 968-3029
E-Mail: ptsvlcty@cswnet.com


Dover, Arkansas

The third and final reading for the ordinance targeting pit bulls takes place October 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Mayor Patrick Johnson
mayorofdover@centurytel.net

City Treasurer/Recorder
Regina Kilgore
treasurerofdover@centurytel.net

Dardanelle, Arkansas

The second reading of the pit bull ordinance with be held on October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Mayor Carolyn McGee
CMcgee@dardanelle.com

City Clerk
cityclerk@dardanelle.com

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Riverside County, CA Mandating Spay Neuter on Pit Bulls Public Hearing Set For October 8, 2013

Riverside County supervisors set a public hearing for October 8, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. to further consider the proposed ordinance that would require pit bulls over four months old housed in unincorporated areas of Riverside County to be spayed or neutered. The proposal could then get a public hearing on October 22, 2013 after which the Board can decide to pass, change or take no action.

Supervisor John Travaglione was quoted as saying “We tend to see that many owners of pit bulls are not responsible.” Tavaglione had said in April that he wanted tough regulations targeting owners after learning that an 84-year-old Jurupa Valley man was torn apart by a family pit while sitting in his wheelchair.

The Supervisors voted 5-0 to move the proposed ordinance forward.

The genesis of the ordinance was the Department of Animal Services who told the board that 20% of impounded dogs and 30% of those euthanized at county shelters are pit bulls that “historically have very low redemption or adoption rates.” This was coupled with testimony of victims of pit bull attacks, including Beaumont City Councilwoman Brenda Knight, who stated that the pit bulls have a vicious streak and physical makeup that make them inherently dangerous.

The board was warned by veterinarian Melanie Verreault that mandatory sterilization would lead to less compliance with county dog licensing and registration regulations. “Anti-breed legislation is a bad idea. There are too many people flying under the radar already.”

What constitutes a pit bull under the ordinance? “Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Stafford Terriers “or any mixed breed which contains … any one of these breeds so as to be identifiable as partially of one or more of these breeds.” If the owner disagrees with the identification, the ordinance provides for a “breed determination” which would require the county’s chief veterinarian to examine the dog. The owner then has the right to appeal the finding to a county administrative officer or take the case to court.

Interestingly, California law prohibits breed discriminatory ordinances except those pertaining to spay and neuter programs.

Anyone in the Riverside, CA area should plan on attending the October 8, 2013 meeting to oppose the ordinance and reach out to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and show opposition to the ordinance.

Riverside County Board of Supervisors
district1@rcbos.org,District2@rcbos.org,district4@rcbos.org,
district3@rcbos.org, district5@rcbos.org

Jay Orr
County Executive Officer
County Administrative Center
4080 Lemon Street – 4th Floor
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 955-1110
ceo@rceo.org

Public Information Officer

Ray Smith
County Executive Office
4080 Lemon Street – 4th Floor
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 955-1110
raysmith@rceo.org

Watertown Wisconsin is moving forward with breed discriminatory law

The Safety Committee has approved a proposal in Watertown WI that would target the owners of dogs deemed to be pit bulls.

The issue has been under discussion for some time and, in spite of opposition from residents and locals, officials are moving forward with the proposal.  The proposal now moves to Common Council to be voted on.  There are two votes, the first of which is on Tuesday.

The ordinance targets the “American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier or any dog displaying a majority of physical traits of one or more of the above breeds, or any dog exhibiting those distinguishing characteristics which substantially conform to the standards established by the American Kennel Club (AKC)  or the United Kennel Club (UKC) for any of the above breeds.  The AKC and UKC standards for the above breeds shall be maintained on file by the Municipal Court Clerk and updated annually.”  These dogs will carry a High Risk Dog designation under the proposed ordinance.

The fact that they are using the AKC and UKC standards means that, as usual, the dogs being targeted will be identified visually.  It is important for us to note that every kennel club has openly stated that any use of their standards to implement or enforce a breed discriminatory law is a direct violation of their copyright and a misuse of the standards.

Visual identification is notoriously unreliable.  Multiple studies have been done with people who work in animal fields and not only are visual results far from DNA results, professionals cannot even agree with each other as to what the primary breed of a dog may be.

There is no clarification in the ordinance as to what “substantially conforms” or “majority of physical traits” means in a practical sense.  This unquantifiable language is not unusual and leaves the determination as to what is “pit bull enough” completely open to the discretion of the person making the assessment.

Though the ordinance goes into great length to describe the appeals process for people whose dogs are determined to be dangerous or vicious by behavior, there is no outlining appeal of a High Risk Dog designation.  This lack of information could qualify as a due process violation.

Owners of a dog with a High Risk designation must follow a long list of requirements.  Targeted dogs must be on a leash of 4 feet when not at home, no tethering unless a person 16 years or older is present, if the dog is not inside the home it must be confined to a kennel that has a secure top and bottom, or be buried to a depth of 2 feet, as well as complying with zoning regulations, in home restrictions, warning signs, spay/neuter, with no medical exemption, or exemption for registered show dogs, special registration and a $100,000 liability insurance policy and an owner of a high risk dog is not allowed to own any more than one other dog, or own a High Risk Dog in a unit that houses 3 or more families.

An interesting part of the ordinance is the confinement requirements for inside the home.  The ordinance states that, “No “high risk dog” or “vicious dog” may be kept in a house, building or other structure when the windows are open or when screen windows or screen doors fail to prevent such dog from exiting the house, building or other structure.”  The language of this portion suggests that it would be illegal for an owner of a “high risk dog” to open their windows on a nice day.

Another part that is troublesome is the multi-family dwelling portion.  This prohibits a High Risk Dog from living in a place that is a “triplex or larger.” There is no grandfather clause that would allow people who have a high risk dog to keep their dogs if they live in a restricted property.

A grandfather clause is supposedly in the process of being drafted but, according to officials, it would be for a limited time period.  This means that a person with a High Risk Dog that has more than one other dog must re-home the “extra dog” or a person in a multi-family dwelling must re-home their dog or move in a certain period of time.  The hardship that this places on people is being met with a callousness that is a bit surprising.

Watertown’s full proposed ordinance can be viewed here.

The ordinance goes to the first Common Council vote on Tuesday, August 20th.

It is absolutely imperative that people show up to oppose this ordinance.  There was some behind the scenes chatter that the breed based language would be stricken but that has not proven to be the case.  A strong in person showing is needed to speak out against this.

Residents and locals: If at all possible, please attend the meeting.  It begins at 7PM.  Please try to be there early.

If you cannot attend the meeting, please take  moment to reach out the Common Council and factually and respectfully ask them to oppose this breed discriminatory proposals.

E-mail addresses for the Aldermen are below, or you can find their phone numbers on the cities website:

Emily McFarland: emily.cahoon@yahoo.com Phone: 920.988.5874 (this member is not on the website because she is a new member.)
Fred Smith: wccpastor@charter.net
Ken Berg: kbergo1@jhrellc.com
Steve Zgnoc: zgonc@charter.net
John Coughlin: johnjcoughlin10@yahoo.com
Augie Tietz: raugie@att.net
Robert Stocks: sarah.stocks@att.net
James Romlein: jwr@R545.us

Livingston County Kentucky seeks breed discriminatory law

The Livingston County Kentucky Fiscal Court is in the process of trying to enact a dangerous dog law that would target several different dog breeds.

Some officials have stated that they are trying to hold owners more accountable for their dogs by targeting these breeds, while others say they are being targeted because the listed breeds are responsible for all the attacks in the county.

The ordinance currently targets American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and Rottweilers.

There are several ways a dog can be determined to be restricted.  One way is if either parent is registered as one of the listed breeds. A second way is if an owner “registers, defines, admits, or otherwise identifies the dog as being of a restricted breed.” The last would be certification by a licensed veterinarian.  Though the ordinance does not explicitly say this, certification by a veterinarian would be at the behest of animal control.  It is often the case that animal control tries to get vets to identify dogs to be targeted by laws like this. These ID’s are done visually under most circumstances.  The vet must certify that the dog is “primarily” one of the targeted breeds.  What percentage  “primarily” means is not specified.  The definitions are confused.  The wording of the proposal mentions both phrases “primarily of the breed” and “substantially conforms to” with no clarification as to what either of these mean for practical application of the ordinance.

They are using both the UKC (United Kennel Club) and AKC (American Kennel Club) standards to try to define and enforce this.  Both kennel clubs are mentioned in the definition portion of the ordinance.  Both the UKC and the AKC have made statements that using their breed standards for the enforcement of a breed discriminatory law is a violation of their copyright.

The ordinance calls for special registration that comes with a list of requirements that are standard to any licensing law.  Proof of vaccines, sterilization and personal contact information for the owner.  However, the owner of a restricted dog will have to provide proof of $50,000 in liability insurance.

However, this is not a license, it is an application process.  Officials will review the “application” to determine if the person is allowed to keep their dog.  This includes a criminal background check for an owner of a targeted dog.  There is some question as to the constitutionality of something like this.  If the application is denied, the dog will be taken and killed.  There is no clause saying the dog can be rehomed either inside or outside the county.  It explicitly says the dog will be killed.  In cases where a person is granted the “right” to own a restricted dog and is found to be in violation, they will have a very limited amount of time to remove the dog from the county.

We asked Attorney Fred Kray, of Pit Bulletin Legal News, to examine the ordinance to give some perspective about the due process involved in the ordinance as written. According to Mr. Kray, “the appellate process is flawed. While they term it a review – it is written, and there is no trial, cross examination, subpoena of witnesses or burden of proof as required by Mansour v. King. There is nothing that requires the government to come forward to prove their case, and thus the way it is worded puts the burden of going forward on the owner. They then put the burden of proof on the owner as well to justify the license. Because they are wording everything as a license, one might get the impression that it is a licensing procedure only. However, they are taking your property and it triggers the fourth amendment. In my opinion, due process is not met in the licensing ‘appeal’ which is really the first tier fact finding hearing.”  This is problematic because of the case mentioned.  Mansour v. King deals with due process in dangerous dog cases and is very clear about the standards and rules for the case, appeals and keeping of records involved.

Livingston’s complete proposed ordinance

Residents have been working very hard to try to sway officials away from a breed discriminatory ordinance.  They have been petitioning locally and providing information to officials.  Remember, this is a  County wide ordinance, so anyone who lives in an unincorporated part of the county would be effected by its passage.

This should be heard on the 23rd of July beginning at 5pm.  If anyone in the area can attend please do so.  Meetings are held at the County Library/Office building in Smithland KY.

Please reach out and respectfully offer opposition and alternatives to the breed discriminatory ordinance.  There is a contact form on the County website or you may e-mail the Magistrates directly with the information provided below.

Livingston County Executive Judge  Chris Lasher:  clasher@livingstonco.ky.gov

County Magistrates:
Terry Stringer: tstringer@livingstonco.ky.gov
Franklin Walker: fwalker@livingstonco.ky.gov
Jimmy Ferrell: bferrell@livingstonco.ky.gov
Marvin Buford: mbuford@livingstonco.ky.gov

Watertown Wisconsin pursuing breed discriminatory ordinance

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.

Previous alert for Watertown

Dover Arkansas passes first reading of breed ban

The City Council in Dover Arkansas has passed the first reading of a breed ban at their last meeting in City Council.

The ordinance has been ordered to be held for 30 days.

Targeted dogs include American Pit Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and American Bull Dogs as well as “any dog that has been registered as a pit bull, referred to as such, or that is defined or identified as a dog belonging to any of the pit bull dog breeds,” as stated in a recent report in The Courier.

Dogs who currently reside in the city will be grandfathered in but owners must adhere to a strict series of regulations.

There is an interesting exemption in this law.  A dog that is registered with the AKC as a show or working dog would be exempt from the ban by showing proof of the registry, a three generation pedigree, as well as having the AKC registration number tattooed on the dogs leg.

What is strange about such an exemption is that officials are going off the premise that these dogs are some how more dangerous than others by the simple fact of their breed.  This ordinance will only be targeting dogs that look like the targeted breeds, which are going to be the mixed breed dogs of unknown lineage.  Dogs that can be proven to be one of the targeted breeds will be exempt and dogs that cannot be proven to be one of the targeted breeds will be banned.   So officials are banning short haired mutts from town, and dogs that are known to be of these breeds are still going to be allowed.

This creates a logistical and legal nightmare for the town of Dover, practically ensuring the most arbitrary enforcement possible and opening up the town to costly litigation.

If passed, people who have a targeted dog will have 30 days to register and comply with the restrictions required by the grandfather clause.  These include confinement requirements, signs that must be posted, sterilization unless medically exempted or a registered show/working dog, special registration and a mandatory tattoo.  At this time there is no mention of the option to microchip instead of tattoo.  If found to be in violation owners of targeted dogs will have 3-5 days to comply of the dog will be confiscated and killed.

Dover is an extremely small town of just over 1,000 people, with limited online presence. The following is the only information currently available for the Dover officials:

Residents and locals, please reach out now to respectfully oppose institution of this confounding attempt at a breed ban.  Be polite and offer alternatives.  If anyone can attend any meetings between now and when the ordinance will come up next month please do so.  When e-mailing please include a request that the correspondence be forwarded to the members of the City Council.

Dover City Hall Office
8904 Market Street
Dover, AR
Phone: (479) 331-3270
Fax: (479) 331.3388

Mayor of Dover
Honorable Patrick Johnson
Email: mayorofdover@centurytel.net

City Treasurer/Recorder
Regina Kilgore
Email: treasurerofdover@centurytel.net

Court Clerk
Vonna Marpel
Email: dovercourt@centurytel.net

Garland County Arkansas moves forward with breed based law

Last year Garland Arkansas county officials first introduced the idea of a breed discriminatory ordinance. This was tabled in September and had been undecided for sometime.

Following a fatal attack in the area, officials are now raising the issue once again.  At a meeting this week, the chairman of the sub-committee that has been investigating the issue made several recommendations for things to be added into the ordinance.

The first is to make a list of high risk breeds to be chosen based on dog bites in the county. The rest consists of restrictions for targeted dogs such as insurance, muzzling and micro-chipping.

Determining “high risk breeds” off bite rates can be a difficult thing because the true population of dogs cannot be known, so there is no way to know if one type of dog is biting out of proportion to its population in the community.   Even if one type of dog is proven by statistics to be biting out of proportion to its population, the most important piece, how the dogs are being managed, will still be overlooked in a breed discriminatory law.

Though officials have not formally release the list of targeted dogs, the chairman has said that list will likely include pit bulls.

The next meeting will be Monday June 24th.

Please reach out with factual opposition and alternatives that would help make the community safer.  After a fatality emotions run high so remain calm and polite in all interactions.  The community is hurt right now and criticism without viable solutions will likely be met with resistance.

Below are the e-mails for the Quorum Court Judges.  Remember that when putting the e-mails in if they are all in the “to” line the e-mail may be bounced back as spam.  Utilize the cc or bcc functions.

Dave Reagan: davetreagan4jp1@gmail.com

Thomas Anderson: thomasja@sbcglobal.com

Marylin Ridge: Marilyn@wattstreet.com

Mary Bournival: Snoopybob65@gmail.com

Rebecca Arguello: becsingsrol@yahoo.com

Ray Owen Jr.: rayowenjr@hotmail.com

John Faulkner: justicejpf@hotmail.com

Ellen Varhalla: ekvarhalla@yahoo.com

Matt McKee: numeromckee@yahoo.com

Drew Hudgens: dhforjp@yahoo.com

Larry Griffin: frankyjohnny@hotmail.com

Donald Laymon: Donald@donaldlaymon.com

Micky Gates: logoknife@aol.com