Proactive Policy Works
Omaha, NE - Council Bluffs City Attorney Don Bauermeister said his city has seen a drop in pit bull attacks since it passed an ordinance banning the dogs. The Council Bluffs pit bull ordinance went into effect in January 2005. Bauermeister said there were 29 pit bull attacks on people in 2004, 12 in 2005, six in 2006, two in 2007 and none so far this year.
Across the water, Omaha is experiencing a surge in pit bull attacks. In a single day, Omaha police responded to two pit bull attacks. One attack involved an Omaha toddler who was rushed into surgery after a pit bull ripped off part of her scalp. Three other people were injured in the attack. A few hours later, police said another pit bull attacked a 12-year-old boy, biting him on the arm.
The ordinance passed by the City Council stated that residents not be allowed to buy or breed pit bulls within the city limits, but current owners could keep their pets if they meet certain safety and insurance guidelines. A $100,000 liability policy is required; the owner must post signs warning visitors about the dog; and the dog must be microchipped for identification purposes.
Currently, 80 pit bulls are registered within the city. Galen Barrett, the city's chief animal control officer, said that most of the bites recorded before the ban were minor but he remembers at least one vicious incident. "One of the worst was a female bit in the forearm. She had to have the piece of the dog's tooth that busted out in the arm removed," Barrett said.
09/01/08: Most Recent Pit Bull and Fatal Dog Attack Statistics
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org