Category Archives: Nebraska

Gering NE – Pit Bull Ban Considered By Council

Gering Councilman Dan Smith told other Council members at their last meeting that other communities have breed specific bans.  He cited pit bulls and rottweilers has having dangerous reputations.

Councilman Larry Gibbs said council had opted not to ban specific breeds in the past, instead focus on vicious and dangerous dogs.  But, he feels the current ordinance does require that a history or incident would have to occur for an animal to be deemed dangerous or vicious.

Gerring’s current Vicious and Dangerous Dog ordinance permits a dog deemed dangerous to be returned to its owner, but the dog must be leashed and muzzled, or an officer responding to an event involving the dog could immediately dispatch the dog.

Questions were raised concerning who determines a dog dangerous under the current ordinance.  According to Police Captain George Holthus, prior City Prosecutors have required that a judge be involved when declaring dogs vicious or dangerous, however current prosecutors believe that police can deem dogs vicious and put into step the next proceedings.

Councilwoman Monette Ross supported the theory that pit bulls are dangerous dogs.  “You can’t count on what it is going to do, one minute it is just sitting there and the next thing, it is a killing machine.”

Smith asked that a proposal for designing a breed-specific ban go before the public safety committee.

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Results of BSL: Yakima, Omaha, Terrell County, UK

The purported purpose of breed-specific laws is to increase public safety by reducing dog bites. This is the whole reason behind BSL.

As a community considers BSL, public officials and the news media have no difficulty finding shocking and appalling dog bite statistics that seemingly reinforce the need for BSL.

As such, we would likewise expect municipalities that have passed BSL to have no difficulty finding and publishing amazing statistics showing a sharp decline in dog bites after the passage of BSL. They should be able to easily prove the success of their discriminatory law by demonstrating a reduction in dog bites.

On the contrary, we get news articles like the following, which clearly demonstrate only the abject failure of BSL. Not only does BSL fail to reduce dog bites, it creates new problems.

Omaha, NE

Since Jan. 2009, Omaha, NE has had BSL for “pit bulls,” defined as American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, Dogo Argentinos, Presa Canarios, Cane Corsos, American bulldogs, and any dog that resembles one of these breeds. Currently, dogs of these breeds of any age must be muzzled, leashed, and harnessed when in public, unless the dog has passed a Canine Good Citizen test.

In late 2009, the city cracked down on “pit bull” owners who were violating the new law, resulting in 90 citations in a six-month period. Because of the high volume of citations written, officials stated the law was “working better than expected.”

Officials claimed success again in 2010, after data showed that “pit bull” bites had decreased. But 2010 dog bite statistics from the city, obtained and analyzed by KC Dog Blog, showed that dog bites overall had increased, with Labrador Retrievers leading the pack. Non-“pit bulls” were now doing more biting, suggesting that the problem of irresponsible owners hadn’t gone away, it had just shifted from “pit bulls” to other types of dogs.

Humane Society officials at the time claimed that severe bites had decreased—but refused to provide any evidence of this. The city had only recorded an average 5 severe bites per year prior to the passage of BSL, so even if severe bites did decrease, it wouldn’t have been by much. And given that officials conveniently “failed to mention” that total dog bites had increased, it suggests that they’re being less than honest about the data.

This month, Omaha news media once again makes much ado about the number of citations written for violations of the city’s BSL. This, according to the city, means the discriminatory ordinance is working.

Just don’t look at their dog bite numbers. Public safety is apparently not what the ordinance is for.

Yakima, WA

Yakima has had a ban on “pit bulls” since 1987. Back in 2009, news media reported that “pit bulls” had filled the animal shelter to bursting. The single animal control officer spent a lot of his time responding to “pit bull” calls, usually to find that the “pit bull” was not really a “pit bull” after all. Nevertheless, the ACO said the law was “effective.” There was no mention of number of dog bites.

A recent news report from Yakima tells an interesting story. After a rash of dog bites, the city announced that it intends to start enforcing… the leash law.

That city officials pinpointed leash law enforcement over breed ban enforcement suggests several things: their breed ban is insufficient for promoting public safety; their dog bite problem isn’t a “pit bull” problem, it’s an irresponsible owner problem; and their animal control department is so understaffed that their animal laws aren’t being enforced.

Terrell County, GA

Terrell County commissioners passed restrictions on “pit bull” ownership at the beginning of the year, in response to a single incident in which sheep were killed by loose dogs.

A news article in March lamented that the animal shelter had since filled up with “pit bulls” and that the number of loose “pit bulls” had increased. In April, as the new ordinance goes into effect, the news media confirms that this trend has continued.

We find it extremely ironic that the BSL put in place because of loose dogs has only served to create more loose dogs and a much bigger problem. And even more ironic that the sheep owner who requested this law now claims to feel safer.

United Kingdom

The breed-specific Dangerous Dogs Act seems to be eternally under fire. A recent news article (“Time to tame our four-legged fiends,” The Independent, Tuesday, April 17, 2012)  noted these problems…

  • A rise in status dogs, linked to the breed-specific nature of the DDA. “The Kennel Club says the rise in attacks has been caused by the increased attractiveness of banned breeds, which it said are looked upon as ‘status dogs.’ Bill Lambert, a senior official with the Kennel Club, said the maligned Dangerous Dogs Act has ‘highlighted certain breeds as being particularly dangerous, which has attracted some people towards these dogs.'”
  • A high cost of enforcement of the DDA. “The Metropolitan Police alone spends about £2m a year on kennelling dogs that have been seized under the Act.” The Metropolitan Police is the London police force. £2m is about $3.1 million US.
  • Dog bites are sharply increasing. “The numbers have risen by 30 per cent over the past four years, according to NHS statistics. More than 6,000 people were treated in hospital in 2010-11 because of a dog attack.”
  • Non-targeted breeds are doing most of the biting. “Recent research by the injury lawyers First4lawyers suggested that nearly 30 per cent of people in Britain have been bitten by a dog, with attacks by Alsatians the most common.” Alsatians are German Shepherd-type dogs.

The government has been working on DDA revisions for years, but seems reluctant to acknowledge that the breed-specific portion is causing a lot of their problems (there’s a general feeling that it would be “political suicide” to repeal the breed-specific law). It remains to be seen whether the government will actually fix the DDA.

Lord Redesdale’s Dog Control Bill 2010-12, which would have replaced the DDA with breed-neutral dog control measures, appears to have died quietly in the House of Commons. It failed to clear the second reading stage in March and is not scheduled for further discussion.

La Vista, NE update: Dog ordinance is not breed specific

We were very pleased to hear the outcome of last night’s La Vista, Nebraska, council meeting. The proposed dog ordinance is not breed-specific. The mayor says that the breed-neutral ordinance is better than BSL, and we fully agree.

La Vista council OKs dangerous dog ordinance


Published Wednesday December 21, 2011

The La Vista City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance to cope with potentially dangerous dogs and their owners.[…]

No breed of dog is singled out in the ordinance, unlike Council Bluffs’ ban on ownership of pit bulls.

“This ordinance — for not setting out after pit bulls — is a better ordinance,” said Mayor Doug Kindig. […]

Dogs, regardless of breed, can be classified as potentially dangerous only after an incident that leads to the intimidation, injury or attack on another animal or human. […]

However, not only dogs can be labeled potentially dangerous under the ordinance.

The Humane Society can declare an owner “reckless” if he or she receives three or more convictions from the city in a two-year period, which would bar the owner from owning or living with an animal. […]

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La Vista, NE: Dog ordinance discussion tonight, Dec 20

Thanks to Jodi for this reminder!

La Vista, Nebraska has been on our list of BSL hot spots as an area with the potential for a breed specific ordinance to be proposed. The city council meets tonight to discuss the possible changes to their ordinance which are reported to be similar to the city of Omaha. Omaha’s ordinance is breed specific, targeting “pit bulls.” We will, of course, have a better idea of what the ordinance entails after tonight’s meeting. Those in the area are encouraged to attend the council meeting tonight.

StopBSL contacted police chief Robert Lausten back in early November. He advised us that the proposed ordinance would NOT target specific breeds. However, as Jodi points out, that remains to be seen and should become clear tonight.

The La Vista City Council meets tonight (Tuesday, December 20, 2011) at 7 PM at City Hall, 81st & Park View Boulevard.

La Vista to Consider Dangerous Dog Ordinance

Reporter: Brian Mastre
Email Address:

[…] The possible changes would be similar to Omaha’s ordinance which was adopted in 2008.

“The dangerous dog ordinance basically lets us identify those dogs that could pose a danger in the future,” said Mark Langan with the Nebraska Humane Society, “put restrictions on the dogs, make the owner responsible for that, and if the owner decides not to do that — they fall into the reckless owner category which means they forfeit their animals and they can’t own animals for four years.” […]

Full article retrieved 12/20/11 from

Rushville, NE: Breed ban passed

Rushville, NE has been having problems with stray dogs. Rather than address their stated problem of stray dogs directly through leash laws and enforcement, and even though “pit bulls” aren’t the ones doing the biting (according to the article below, only one out of ten total dog bites was attributed to a “pit bull” in 2009—yet the council cites “a rash of attacks”…?) the council decided that the solution was a “pit bull” ban. Council members cite the myth that “when a pit bull bites, it does more damage.”

The council claims that the ordinance only affects six families in the city, making it even more senseless, because not only does the ordinance not stop the larger problem of irresponsible dog owners, but the council has also taken advantage of the fact that almost no one in town is going to protest the discriminatory ordinance because it really doesn’t affect them.

The mayor says they’ll listen if people want to talk about the issue. Please send respectful, informative correspondence and reasonable breed-neutral alternatives to city officials and encourage them to repeal their senseless and discriminatory breed ban.

City of Rushville, Rushville, Neb. 69360
Phone: (308) 327-2221
Fax: (308) 327-2399

Town OKs ban on new pit bulls

By Roger Holsinger
Published Wednesday December 7, 2011

RUSHVILLE, Neb. — If you own a breed of pit bull and want to move to this northern Panhandle community, your dog won’t be welcome. Citing a rash of attacks, City Council members voted unanimously to prohibit pit bulls inside the city limits.[…]

The ordinance, which goes into effect in January, defines pit bulls as several varieties of bull terrier: the Staffordshire bull terrier, American “pit bull” and the American Staffordshire terrier.[…]

Mayor Chris Heiser said some of the problems that prompted the ordinance originated with stray dogs that enter the city from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Although other breeds cause problems, pit bull attacks are often more dangerous, he said.

“In 2009 we had 10 dog bites, and of those only one was from a pit bull,” Heiser said. But he added that, due to the strength of their jaws, a pit bull attack can cause much more harm that a bite from a chihuahua.

“We have talked about (making an ordinance) before, and we currently have a vicious dog ordinance. We’re just trying to catch up with the times,” he said.

Heiser said that during the council meeting a few people opposed the change. He estimated the new ordinance would affect approximately six families.

“We are not making them get rid of their dogs, but we have a problem here with dogs not being licensed and people not keeping their dogs in their yards,” he said. “If people want to talk about this issue more, we’ll listen, but we felt this issue needed to be addressed.” […]

Full article retrieved 12/7/11 from

Beatrice, NE: Breed-specific wording removed

Beatrice, NE council voted to remove the breed-specific language in the proposed animal ordinance revisions. It was a very close vote.

When election day comes around, please remember the folks who supported breed-discriminatory language.

Voting to remove the breed-specific language: Mayor Dennis Schuster, Calvin Carey, Alan Fetty, Allen Langdale, Erich Tiemann.
Voting to keep the breed-specific language:  Jason Schmale, Jason Moore, David “Pede” Catlin, Dwight Parde.

Please also take a moment to thank the city council for removing the breed-specific language: City Clerk feedback form:

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Council adopts new animal ordinance

By Scott Koperski/Daily Sun staff writer | Posted: Monday, April 18, 2011 9:51 pm

The Beatrice City Council voted to approve a new animal ordinance at its Monday meeting.

While the new ordinance passed, controversial wording that automatically classified pit bull breeds of dogs as potentially dangerous animals was removed.

Council member Calvin Carey, who has expressed opposition to breed-specific wording over the course of the ordinance’s three readings, proposed the amendment to the ordinance that would remove the wording […]

Full article retrieved 4/19/11 from

Beatrice, NE: Final reading of BSL, April 18

Beatrice, NE will hold a final reading of proposed BSL during the city council meeting on April 18. The ordinance will declare all “pit bulls” (any dog appearing to be more than 50% “pit bull,” DNA tests done at owner’s expense) to be “potentially dangerous” dogs, thereby placing discriminatory restrictions on pit bull ownership.

This is one of the last opportunities for the public to protest and request changes to the ordinance before it goes up for a vote and possible passage.

Council meeting, April 18, 7:00 PM at Beatrice Administration Building, 320 N. 5th Street, Beatrice, NE 68310

Contact information
Beatrice City Council, 400 Ella Street, Beatrice, Nebraska 68310
(402) 228-5200
FAX (402) 228-2312
City Attorney feedback form:
City Clerk feedback form:
City Administrator Neal Niedfeldt,

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