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By a 6-1 vote, the Omaha City Council has passed an ordinance barring the tethering and chaining of dogs in the city outside for more than 15 minutes without supervision.
That is the good news. Unfortunately, the city also adopted breed specific legislation that targets pit bull type dogs. A pit bull is defined as any dog that is an American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, American bulldog, Dogo Argentino, Presa Canario or Cane Corso, or any dog displaying theÂ majority of theÂ physical traits of any one or more of these breeds.
Beginning January 1, 2009 all pit bulls in the city must be muzzled, leashed and harnessed in public and under the control of someone at least 19 years old. Pit bulls that pass an unspecified behavioral test will not be required to wear muzzles. Pit bulls outside on their owner’s property must be inside a secure fence. Pit bull owners must carry at least $100,000 in liability insurance.
Certainly dogs will die because of these restrictions. People will surrender their pit bulls because they can’t afford or find insurance. Â Targeting pit bulls only heightens needless fear of liability, meaning people are less likely to want to keep their pit bulls or adopt them. Many more will end up dying in shelters.
The new laws also apply to any dogs deemed "potentially dangerous" for aggressive behavior, which is not defined, and also to owners declared to be reckless. Dogs that are declared "potentially dangerous" mustÂ be spayed/neutered and micro-chipped. Owners declared to be reckless will be banned from having animals for four years if they violate the city’s rules on three occasions within two years. (No argument here with the last 2 requirements.)
The Nebraska Humane Society supports the breed restrictions and estimates the cost of implementing and enforcing these new laws will be about $500,000. There are increases in license fees to help pay for these new laws; fees for intact animals will be more than twice as much as for those that are spayed/neutered.
Half a million dollars to go after what will largely be friendly family pets.
There is no evidence breed specific legislation works. In fact, BSL does not work, according to every study available. Instead, it means the death of pets and further strain on animal control resources. It does not make communities safer. For more information showing breed specific legislation does not work and what will help make communities safer, click here.