Lots of Attendees and Voices Heard
Omaha, NE - On Tuesday, Omaha City Council heard voices on all sides of the proposed dangerous dog ordinance. The bulk of the ordinance is geared toward labeling dogs "potentially dangerous" and "dangerous" more easily and placing added restrictions upon them, including mandatory sterilization. The proposal also has two key pit bull restrictions.
Under the new ordinance, dogs designated as either label would be required to carry $100,000 in liability coverage. All pit bulls -- no designation needed -- would be required to carry insurance as well. Wendy Blevins says this insurance is essential. "The owner whose dog bit my daughter didn't have insurance," says Blevins. "All the bills are coming to my house. I'm paying." At last count, Charlotte's medical bills had surpassed $100,000.
The new ordinance also requires pit bulls to be muzzled when in public. Unsurprisingly, pit bull owners are unhappy about the insurance and muzzling requirements. One pit bull advocate said that all dog owners ought to be required to carry the insurance. Another stated that, "Dogs don't sweat so they need to pant." Wire basket muzzles, as seen in the photo and used by top pit bull trainers, solve this problem.
The TV station also reported various quotes from proponents of the pit bull regulations. To see these quotes in context, please watch the video clip that goes along with KPTM's news article.
- "Every dog was bred for a specific purpose," says a pit bull opponent. "That purpose for the pit bull is now a felony in all 50 states."
- "They only snap one time and that's all it takes," says a pit bull opponent.
- "We don't need those kinds of dogs on the street," says another opponent.
City council members now have to weigh all of the comments. Councilmen Jim Vokal and Jim Suttle weren't able to attend the meeting. They'll get a DVD copy so they can hear from the 20 people who spoke. Other council members say it's a lot to think about and they will consider making minor changes to the proposal. By and large, however, there seemed to be agreement that Fahey's plan "is the best they can do at this time."
The council is expected to vote on the proposed rules, and any changes, next week or the week after. Whatever passes the council should go into effect next month.
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org