Beatrice, Nebraska Considering Breed-Specific Ordinance for “Pit Bulls”

By Editor
In Breed-Specific Legislation
Mar 25th, 2011
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Editor’s note: A breed-specific ordinance, whether an outright ban or breed-specific restrictions like Beatrice is considering, is still ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional.  And while DNA tests (which are not at all as reliable as the public has been made to believe and certainly not enough to withstand a legal challenge) have been proposed as a means to enforce “pit bull” bans, how do you DNA test for a “breed” of dog, “pit bull,” which isn’t a breed at all?  And if an ordinance has to parse out a handful of breeds that they define as “pit bull” doesn’t it stand to reason that statistics on so-called “pit bulls” would be skewed since the catch-all slang term “pit bull” must then encompass many breeds instead of just one?

Please contact the Beatrice Mayor and City Council via the City Clerk’s info that follows and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation in any form is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional:

City Clerk: Linda Koch lkoch@beatrice.ne.gov

400 Ella Street
Beatrice, NE 68310
(402) 228-5200
Fax (402) 228-2312

From the Beatrice Daily Sun:

The Beatrice City Council held its first discussion regarding a proposed new animal ordinance Monday night.

During the hour and 15 minute discussion, the Council heard from multiple members of the community and discussed everything from how to determine the breed of a dog, to if pot-bellied pigs are considered “exotic” animals. 

Tobias Tempelmeyer, city attorney, said the main advantage the proposed ordinance has over the current one is better definitions.

“We’ve added a lot more definitions in this proposed ordinance than what was in our previous ordinance,” Tempelmeyer said. “I think our previous ordinance defined three terms. In this one we eliminate some of the ambiguity that’s been out here.”

The bulk of the discussion focused on a proposal to declaring all pit bull breed of dogs to be potentially dangerous animals.

While the ordinance wouldn’t ban people from having pit bulls as pets, it will require various breed-specific laws for pit bull owners, which has been a well-debated issue since brought up at a work session last year.

Should the ordinance pass in its current form – the first of three readings was held Monday – the annual registration fee for a potentially dangerous animal or pit bulls, which would be defined the same, would be  $25.

The fee is in addition to the standard dog license fee, which is $5 for spayed or neutered dogs and $20 for all other dogs over the age of six months.

There would also be an insurance requirement, which is typically included in a pet owner’s renters or home-owner’s insurance.

One person who spoke in opposition to the pit bull section of the ordinance was Gina Grone, Humane Society executive director.

…“Cities that have enacted this have gone back and done studies on how effective it’s been a lot of times find that it really hasn’t improved public safety,” Grone said. “You have the really good law that’s written there. It’s going to be better for the city to have this very strongly worded breed-neutral law that is well enforced.”

Council member Jason Moore, who suggested a possible city-wide ban on all pit bulls last year, pointed out that the suggested ordinance would still allow pit bulls to be raised in Beatrice.

“This isn’t a ban, it’s looked at to be guidelines,” Moore said. “That’s all this is looked at. What the ordinance suggests, is if you want to have a pit bull, you’re allowed to have one, as long as you are a responsible owner. This is pretty much all this is saying.”

After hearing from members of the community opposed to the pit bull portion of the ordinance, Council member Calvin Carey indicated it might be an aspect the ordinance could do without.

“The main thing is you want the pit bull taken out of the language, and I think we can go ahead and adjust that.” Carey said.

The issue of how to determine a dog to be a pit bull was also raised.

Tempelmeyer said guideline set by national kennel clubs would be used to determine if a dog was more than 50 percent pit bull.

Should DNA tests be necessary, he added it would most likely not be the cities responsibility to fund the tests…

Read this article in its entirety here.

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