According to The Republic, Livingston County, Kentucky will be pursuing a breed-specific ordinance in July that will restrict Rottweilers, Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, and that non-existent “breed” “pit bull.” Livingston County Judge-Executive Chris Lasher is reportedly pursuing breed-specific legislation (BSL) after victims were repeatedly attacked by dogs within the county. Lasher stated that,
“Dangerous, vicious animals have always been a problem in Livingston County. It has been a constant issue, and it has just gotten worse and worse.”
It sounds like Livingston County has a free-roaming dog problem, not a breed problem (especially since, again, “pit bull” is not a breed).
The proposed ordinance would require owners of “restricted dogs” to register their dogs and maintain a $50,000 liability insurance policy as well as requiring owners to vaccinate, microchip, and have their dogs spayed or neutered. Shouldn’t dog owners in Livingston County already be required under law to vaccinate their dogs? Also mandatory microchipping has come under fire because microchips have proven in studies to cause malignancies, so a mandatory microchipping ordinance could be tantamount to a death sentence for some dogs.
Additionally, punitive legislation — in the form of mandatory spay/neuter (MSN) laws — is a failed policy as Los Angeles and San Mateo Counties have discovered. For instance, the nations very first mandatory spay/neuter law was passed in San Mateo County, California in 1991. As a result,
* Dog euthanasia increased by 126%, and cat euthanasia by 86%.
* Areas of the county not covered by the MSN law saw decreases in dog/cat euthanasia.
* Licensure compliance declined by 35% during this time.
Los Angeles County’s mandatory spay/neuter law, passed in 2000, saw,
* A decline in licensing compliance.
* The Animal Control budget rise from $6.7 million to $18 million.
* The city hiring additional Animal Control officers and the purchasing of new trucks and equipment just to enforce the new law.
So, Livingston County already has a problem with Animal Control enforcement and it seeks to pass additional legislation that will require even more Animal Control, resources, and funds?
If the same dogs are repeatedly attacking in Livingston County, then there is a definite need for more Animal Control, more citations for owners of free-roaming dogs (meaning enforcing a leash law), and escalating fines and penalties for irresponsible dog owners of any breed. These are things that have proven to work, unlike BSL which has a proven history of inefficacy.
The proposal will be discussed July 12, 2013. In the meantime, please contact the Livingston County Magistrates (who are not listed on their website) via the Livingston County Clerk here, and the Livingston County Judge-Executive Chris Lasher here, and politely inform them that BSL in any form is ineffective, unenforceable, and unconstitutional. If you need a sample letter, you can click here for the AKC’s sample BSL opposition letter.