Councillor Presses On
Indianapolis, IN - City officials recently "tabled" the At-Risk Dog proposal introduced by Councillor Mike Speedy. The action follows the Indianapolis Humane Society's opposition to the measure. The proposal, which would have required the sterilization of pit bulls, came in response to the brutal attack on Brenda Hill back in January, as well as to the city's growing pit bull population and pit bull bites. The IndyStar recently published Speedy's reponse to the now-tabled proposal.
Reduce Dog Danger with Breed-Specific LawBy Councillor Mike Speedy, The Indianapolis Star
May 26, 2009
"I continue to work diligently on the now-tabled At-Risk Dog proposal because the risk of being mauled or killed by a dog in our city is unacceptable. Public safety requires us to take note that a small group of bully breeds have greater capability to bite in a devastating, life-altering way while maintaining the distinction of being the most at-risk, abused dog in Indianapolis.
The population of pit bull breeds in Indianapolis has grown exponentially. In Marion County, pit bulls and their close mixes consistently represent more than 30 percent of the dogs at the Indianapolis Animal Care & Control shelter. In the Hamilton County shelter, where they receive many of our pit bulls, it is closer to 50 percent. Plus, The Star documented that bites from pit bulls are significantly higher since the City-County Council passed the reactive, even if enforced, Dangerous Dog Ordinance in 2006. In fact, pit bull bites increased 33 percent from 2007 to 2008. While the pit bull bites are level for this year thus far, we still had a horrible mauling in which a resident, Brenda Hill, lost her leg and nearly her life.
My colleagues on the council who are in opposition to the proposal do not understand that no other "bad rap" breed such as Dobermans or German Shepherds ever endured more than 20 years of abuse, torture, neglect, dog fighting or less desire to adopt from the public. Animal welfare groups and pit bull advocates have given their all for the past 10 years for voluntary pit bull specific spay/neuter, adoption, outreach and training programs with little progress. It is time that we admit, as a community, that they need our legislative help. They are unable to achieve the needed public safety results solely by voluntary programs.
The At-Risk Dog proposal simply requires the registration and sterilization of pit bulls, dogs specifically bred for dog fighting. If you reduce the population in a humane way, you will reduce the bites and the status image, and you will make the dog fighters and criminals easier to find. The Fraternal Order of Police understands this; it unanimously endorsed the proposal. The FOP wants the council to help protect police officers and give them an edge in the fight against crime.
Limited tax dollars require our city to have a targeted solution built on the success that other cities, such as Little Rock, Ark., and San Francisco, have experienced with similar ordinances.
The risk of mauling and death-by-dog will not go down in this city until the council gives the public, police and pit bulls the protection of a proactive, breed-specific solution."
Speedy, a Republican, represents District 24 on the City-County Council.
04/24/09: Indianapolis Councillor Files "At Risk" Dog Proposal Today
03/07/09: Coverage of Indianapolis Serious Pit Bull Attacks and Controversy
02/12/09: Indianapolis Must Enact a Pit Bull Law or Serious Maulings Will Continue
02/10/09: Brenda Hill, 68, Attacked by Pit Bulls While Taking Out the Trash
09/04/08: Flashback: S.F. Pit Bull Sterilization Law Has Successful Results