Editor’s note: The Hopkinton incident illustrates the danger, not of a specific breed, but of dogs that are constantly penned, unsocialized, and abused. If Elkader seeks to be proactive, they should do what Hopkinton didn’t: respond in a timely manner to calls from citizens about possible animal abuse. Folks want to point a finger at the breeds in the Hopkinton case, but it was the humans that failed that little girl, not the dogs, and certainly not the breed of dogs.
Please contact the Elkader Mayor and City Council via the City Clerks info that follows and politely inform them that breed-specific legislation in any form is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional:
Jennifer K. Cowsert
From the Clayton County Register:
The Elkader City Council will be taking another look at the city ordinance governing dog ownership at its next meeting.
Councilman Darryl Koehn said Monday that a concerned citizen approached him about the matter, prompted by a March 5 incident in Hopkinton in which three-year-old Vanessa Elizabeth Husmann was mauled to death in her backyard by two of her grandfather’s Rottweilers.
Elkader doesn’t have an ordinance in place that bars specific breeds, but it does contain a provision that makes it illegal for persons to keep dogs that, without provocation and while at-large, have attacked or bitten persons or domestic animals or fowl on two separate occasions within a one-year period. It also prohibits ownership of a dog that has bitten a person above the shoulders.
“Personally, I don’t have a problem with (the current ordinance),” said Koehn, but he added that the City Council should be proactive on this issue.
Koehn told his fellow councilmen that three breeds – the Pit Bull, the Rottweiler and the Akita – commit 75 percent of the dangerous attacks on humans, according to his research.
Dr. Tom Johnson of the Iowa Veterinary Medical Association said a yet unpublished study indicated that Labrador retrievers actually have the highest incidence of dog bite reports.
“That data is not adjusted for the very large number of Labs in the population but does point out that any dog can bite under the correct circumstances,” Johnson said.
…Another possible strategy, Koehn said, is to require the owners of these breeds to register them with city hall.
Some cities require that a vicious dog have a microchip inserted and be either spayed or neutered.
Read this article in its entirety here.