Sheboygan, Wisconsin Common Council to Consider Breed-Specific Ordinance Regulating “Pit Bulls”

Editor’s note: Here we have an ordinance regulating American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, etc. and yet its author refers to these actual breeds as “pit bulls.”   “Pit bull” is not a breed, so does it not follow that if you list actual breeds in a breed-specific ordinance (and their mixes, and their lookalikes), lump those breeds together, and then refer to them as “pit bulls,” as if that were one breed, that bite statistics on so-called “pit bulls” might be greatly skewed?   Also, the ordinance proposal’s author, Alderman Versey, has acknowledged that “it’s not the dog, it’s the owner.”   If that’s the case, and Alderman Versey acknowledges that it is the case, then why should these breeds and their responsible owners have to suffer discrimination???   Does this sound fair to you?

Please contact the Sheboygan Mayor and Common Council and politely inform them that the breed-specific ordinance proposal will be ineffective, unenforceable, and is an equal protection violation, i.e. the proposal is unconstitutional. (Alderman Versey has acknowledged that it’s not specific breeds that are causing a problem; it’s irresponsible owners.   Under the 14th amendment, a person can only be deprived of their property, their dogs, if there is a true threat to public safety, and since Mr. Versey has acknowledged that it is irresponsible owners who are the potential safety risk, not the dogs, then what he proposes is a glaring violation of the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.)

From the Sheboygan Press:

An ordinance placing heavy restrictions on dangerous dogs in the City of Sheboygan, including confining them to a stockade-style fenced yard when outdoors, forcing their owners to carry $300,000 in liability insurance in case their dog attacks and injures another person, and enforcing strict leash and muzzle requirements, was unanimously passed Wednesday by the Common Council’s Public Protection and Safety Committee.

The ordinance, introduced by Ald. Scott Versey, also would require owners of dangerous dogs to place warning signs on their premises, and ban anyone under the age of 18 from controlling the dog with a leash.The Common Council is expected to vote on the ordinance next Monday.  

…The ordinance regulates any dog that is an American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Terrier, American Pit Bull Terrier, Miniature Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier. It also covers any dog displaying the majority of physical traits of any one or more of those breeds.

…Versey, who owns a black Labrador, said he believes there will be support for the ordinance at the council level.

“I don’t foresee it being a big deal,” he said. “You’re going to have the dog lovers that say it’s not the dog, it’s the owner, which I agree ¦ By bringing this forward, you’re protecting the majority, not the minority that own pit bulls. To me it’s more important to have public safety.”

Read this article in its entirety here.

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