Great Bend, KS Ad Hoc Committee Still Honing Breed-Specific Recommendations

The ad hoc committee tasked with streamlining a list of suggestions for a vicious dog ordinance proposal to submit to the Great Bend, Kansas, City Council met Wednesday, July 17, 2013, and will meet one final time at 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 21, 2013.   According to Bob Suelter, City Attorney and chairman of the ad hoc committee,

It appears this committee is not going to recommend a complete ban of pit bulls in the city.”

Okay, so what are they going to recommend because it sounds like they will be recommending some restrictions and/or provisions that will still be breed-specific?  

The Great Bend Tribune did not spell out what suggestions would be breed-specific, but they did offer a list of suggestions the committee has streamlined including,

¢ A new ordinance making it illegal for a child to tease a dog…
¢ Adding temperament testing requirement as an option for the municipal judge when a vicious dog and its owner are before the court.
¢ Increasing vicious dog offenses to class A misdemeanors with a maximum fine of $2,500 and one year in jail, or both.
¢ Stepped up patrols by the Humane Society. This was aimed at addressing the stray dog problem, which the committee divided into two parts “ dogs at large (those that run away from home) and feral dogs that roam the streets. Higher fines for picking up an animal from the shelter may also be considered…
¢ Encouraging proactive reporting from residents to prevent dangerous vicious dog incidents. The city would encourage people to call if they feel threatened, and the society would visit with them and the pet owner before things get out of control.
¢ Mandating spaying or neutering as a permit requirement. There could be exceptions for licensed breeders and owners of show dogs.

Dropped were:

¢ Mandating liability insurance as a requirement for dog licensing. Most present agreed that home owners insurance policies would suffice. Also, judges would be granted the ability to require the extra coverage in vicious dog cases.
¢ Reducing from four to three the number of dogs that require an owner to have a kennel license.

[To see the full list of considerations, please click through to the Great Bend Tribune.]  

I’m sure I join a large group of folks out here who will repeat that breed-specific legislation in any form is ineffective in reducing dog bites because it is looking at the wrong end of the leash.   What has proven to work are deterrents like escalating penalties and fines for irresponsible dog owners, and adequate Animal Control enforcement.  

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