Three Months After Severe Attack
Omaha, NE - Three months after Wendy Blevin's daughter was severely injured in a pit bull attack, the city council approved restrictions on pit bulls and other dogs that display aggressive behavior. Restrictions on pit bulls includes: muzzling when off property and liability insurance. The council voted 6-1 to adopt the restrictions, with Councilman Frank Brown taking the no vote.
Mayor Fahey is expected to sign the new restrictions. Most of the rules will go into effect in about 15 days. The pit bull muzzling rule will not go into effect until January 1, 2009. The new ordinance mainly affects four groups: pit bulls, any dogs deemed "potentially dangerous" for aggressive behavior, owners declared to be reckless and owners who keep dogs tied up outside.
Before passing the new law, several amendments were introduced. Councilman Jim Suttle offered an amendment to eliminate the pit bull muzzle law, which the council rejected. The council also rejected his attempt to exempt pit bulls younger than six months from muzzling. A 2010 sunset date for the pit bull rules was not adopted, but the council will get a report on the rules' effectiveness.
The council did pass an amendment by Councilman Dan Welch to add "American bulldog" to the city's pit bull definition. Also defined as a pit bull is any dog that is an American pit bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Staffordshire bull terrier, Dogo Argentino, Presa Canario or Cane Corso, or any dog displaying majority physical traits of any one or more of the above breeds.
Omaha's definition of a pit bull type dog is highly progressive. One we hope many communities follow.
Spokeswoman Pam Wiese said the Nebraska Humane Society asked for the American bulldog to be added to the definition because it is a bully-type of animal and is sometimes difficult to distinguish from other pit bulls. The American bulldog is also a very dangerous dog that inflicts catastrophic injury and death. This was an excellent amendment on the part of the NHS.
06/28/08: Coverage of the Omaha Pit Bull Attack - DogsBite.org