After Bloomer, Wisconsin repealed the portion of their Pit Bulls and Other Dangerous Animals ordinance (7-1-9) that banned pit bulls on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, the city council on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.