Waunakee officials repealed their long-standing breed ban this week.
The issue was brought up by a resident when they were told their dog is banned under the ordinance after a neighbor complained because the dog barked at him while being walked.
The family had enlisted the help of The Lexus Project, with the intention of challenging the ordinance if the council refused to act. Waunakee’s law was a particularly badly written one, which would not have been upheld in a court. There were due process issues, identification issues and protocol problems the city would have had to defend.
Rather than running into costly litigation, officials repealed the ban, though they cited several different reasons for the change to remove the breed discriminatory language.
Todd Schmidt, village administrator said that, “This is an opportunity not just to remove the ban but to strengthen the ordinance as it exists.”
There are existing laws in place which prohibit dogs at large, have dangerous dog designations and outline behaviors which would classify a dog as dangerous. These parts of the law will still be in effect. Added to the ordinance is language that would give the police chief the power to declare a dog dangerous if it attacks on its own property in certain cases.
There was a lot of very reasonable discourse at the meeting.
Officials talked about the breed neutral law being easier to enforce, the difficulty of proving a dog is banned and the other various issues should the ban remain in place.
Congratulations to officials in Waunakee for being concerned about the safety of everyone in the community and wanting to target all dangerous dogs.