Bloomer, Wisconsin Repeals Pit Bull Ban, Passes Pit Bull Restrictions

After Bloomer, Wisconsin repealed the portion of their Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Animals ordinance (7-1-9) that banned pit bulls on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the city council on Wednesday, November 14, 2013, passed new restrictions for so-called pit bulls within the city allowing owners to have them if they followed the following restrictions.   A pit bull owner,

  • Will have to acquire a document from a veterinarian stating the dog has a good temperament.
  • Will have to maintain at least a $50,000 liability insurance policy on their dog(s).
  • Will have to register their pit bull with the police department and include a photo of the dog to be kept on file.
  • Will have to keep the pit bull(s) leashed and muzzled when not on the owner’s property.

A few things stand out.   Since when are veterinarians qualified to assess animal behavior?   And what if the pit bull owner can’t get a $50,000 liability insurance policy?   This is a real possibility in a town where the owner’s dog of choice is still categorized as a dangerous animal.  

Also, as I have repeatedly written on this site, keeping a dog muzzled (or constantly contained as others of these “model” ordinances have dictated), even if it’s only while the dog is outside and on a leash, constitutes animal cruelty.   Bulldogs in particular, depending on their type, can have breathing problems which are only exacerbated by a muzzle.  

And by requiring the owner to register his/her pit bull(s) and keep a photo on file with the police department, does that mean the dog owner can expect regular check-ups from the police department to ensure compliance?   And if so, how does this not constitute harassment and a violation of privacy?

As I said in a prior post, its wonderful that Bloomer will now allow what they define as pit bulls (and what was that again?) within city limits.   Thats a great start.   But as long as the city requires that so-called pit bulls be registered etc., there is still breed-specific legislation (BSL) in Bloomer.

BSL does not keep communities safer as Bloomer claims.   In fact, the White House now even admits, breed-specific laws “are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources.”   The White House urged instead “a community-based approach to prevent dog bites” saying that, “ultimately, we think thats a much more promising way to build stronger communities of pets and pet owners.”

Indeed, a community-based approach, which usually means a dangerous dog (owner) law which puts the onus for responsible dog ownership on the owner, not the breed, has proven to work.   Breed-specific legislation in any form, however, has actually seen dog bite incidences increase in counties like Denver and Miami-Dade, and in cities like Winnipeg.


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