Omaha Officer Kills Pit Bull
UPDATE 08/16/08: Less than a day after the mayor's proposal was announced, an Omaha police officer was bitten by a pit bull after being led into a home. Officers shot and killed the animal. The owner of the dog, Edwin Horton, was arrested on several charges. The mayor's "muzzle" law would only apply to pit bulls when off-property, not serving police officers who must enter a dog owner's home or a person or a child that might enter either.
08/15/08: Chiseled Down to a Muzzle Law
Omaha, NE - DogsBite.org is sorry to announce that the mayor of Omaha has failed to construct an adequate pit bull regulation. Thanks to the helping hand of the ASPCA and Nebraska Humane Society members, Judy Varner and Mark Langan, Mayor Fahey has proposed a watered down dangerous dog ordinance that includes all dogs. The only special requirement for pit bulls is to muzzle the dog when off-property.
Fahey had many excellent examples to follow including, the City of Council Bluff's pit bull ban and Little Rock's pit bull law, which labels pit bulls as "potentially dangerous" and requires spay-or-neuter, microchipping and a special sticker. We hope that Fahey's failure does not dissuade other Nebraska towns from pursing common sense pit bull laws that are designed to protect citizens and pets.
Here’s what the mayor's stacked committee -- some of which oppose all breed-specific laws -- came up with for the citizens of Omaha. In short order, the mayor will present these options to City Council members for a vote. Dan Welch, the City Council president appears to not even support the pit bull muzzle law. This is presumably because he wants to hear about future children getting their scalps ripped off in the news.
- The Nebraska Humane Society has the authority to designate dogs as "potentially dangerous" if it displays menacing behavior or slightly injures someone. The label could apply to a dog that chases a mail carrier to his truck, for instance.
- Once a dog is labeled "dangerous," mandatory spaying or neutering and microchip identification is required. The dog owner will also be required to attend classes on responsible dog ownership.
- Under the "reckless owner" provision, any dog owner convicted of three separate violations of city pet control laws within two years must surrender all pets. The owner would be prohibited from owning a pet for two years.
- Any pit bull, whether it is labeled as potentially dangerous or not, would have to be muzzled in public and accompanied by someone at least 19 years old. It also would have to be fenced in on the owner's property.
- The committee oddly added several bully breeds to the definition of a pit bull, but left out the American bulldog. They included: American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Dogo Argentina, Presa Canario or Cane Corso.
Fahey formed the committee after Charlotte Blevins, then 15 months old, was violently and suddenly attacked by a pit bull. The girl's mother, Wendy Blevins, another toddler and Carly Spring were also injured in the attack. Wendy Blevins has called for a pit bull ban and sent the Mayor's Office a letter. Sadly, her first hand experience and wisdom went unheard by Fahey and the committee. She wrote in her letter:
"I truly feel, after seeing first hand the unpredictability, unprovoked aggression, and the desire to kill of this breed, that a ban is the only option."
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org