Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Discussions over new animal ordinance continue

By Scott Koperski, Beatrice Daily Sun

The Beatrice City Council heard the second of three readings of a proposed animal ordinance Monday night.
The proposed ordinance has several key differences from the one currently in place, most notably breed-specific laws (BSLs) that would automatically qualify pit bull breeds of dogs for “potentially dangerous” pet status.
The possibility of instituting BSLs in Beatrice has meet met with mixed reactions from the public dating back to last summer when the issue was first brought up.
One issue raised during the discussion was the fact that the proposed ordinance would require people walking a pit bull to be 19 years old.
Council member Jason Moore said the ordinance was written that way because older people are more likely to be responsible pet owners.
“By looking at having an age limit of 19, by being able to walk the animal, in my opinion it sets it as a responsible adult,” Moore said. “It’s an adult who, if you’re going to own a pit bull, you have to have an insurance policy stating that if you have an accident, the dog has to be insured. It all goes along with being a responsible adult.”
Police chief Bruce Lang suggested an age requirement of 18 may be better suited for the ordinance, because 18 is the adult age in the legal system.
Council member Alan Fetty pointed out that the issue of age is not always correlated to a pet owner being responsible or not.
“This is more of an owner issue than a dog issue,” Fetty said. “Those are the people who we need to figure out how to weed out and penalize. We need to have the availability at some point in time to do that. No, our new ordinance doesn’t go that far.
“It’s an issue of making people become responsible, and that’s a difficult thing to do.”
Should the proposed ordinance pass in its current form, the annual registration fee for a potentially dangerous animal or pit bulls, which would be defined the same, would be  $25.
The fee is in addition to the standard dog license fee, which is $5 for spayed or neutered dogs and $20 for all other dogs over the age of six months.
There would also be an insurance requirement for pit bull owners, which is typically included in a pet owner’s renters or homeowner’s insurance.
If the ordinance passes in its current form, the maximum penalty for not following regulations for dangerous and potentially dangerous animals  is jail, not to exceed six months, a $500 maximum fine, but not to be less than $200 and the animal may be put down.
Tobias Tempelmeyer, city attorney, said last week that a council member approached him about preparing certain amendments that would remove the pit bull wording, among other things, from the ordinance.
The only item to be amended, or presented, was the removal of language about animals staying at the shelter for no more than 15 days.
Gina Gone, humane society executive director, spoke to the Council “as a citizen” against BSLs.
Grone said the same laws should be instituted for all breeds of dogs, because they’re all capable of causing the same amount of harm.
“Any dog can do damage,” Grone said. “Any dog can grow up and cause a considerable amount of damage. If you’re going to muzzle one, muzzle them all.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I welcome your comments and questions.
Be advised that comments are moderated. Not for views, but for content.
Profanity, personal attacks, and spam within comments will result in your comment being rejected.
I, personally, love Pit Bulls as well as all dogs and most animals.
If your comment differs from my feelings or opinions, I will post it anyway, providing it does not include any of the three exceptions listed above.
Same goes for comments that are in harmony with my opinions.
Thank you for participating.