Bluffs has model pit bull ordinance
TIM ROHWER, Staff Writer
Omaha needs look no further than across the Missouri River to get some pointers on how to deal with pit bulls.
And, officials there already have.
Council Bluffs Assistant City Attorney Don Bauermeister said he has given them a copy of the Council Bluffs ordinance, plus other information at their request.
Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey announced this week plans to form a committee to study pit bull attacks there in response to several recent cases, including an attack last week that severely injured a toddler.
As far as studying recent attacks elsewhere, Omaha will have to look beyond Council Bluffs, because there have been no reported injuries from pit bulls in 2008, Bauermeister said.
"This year, we haven't had any - not one," he said.
There were just two reported injuries last year, he added.
"Our ordinance has been effective," Bauermeister said. "The numbers don't lie. The numbers speak volumes about its success."
The ordinance that bans pit bulls in Council Bluffs was approved in 2004 and took effect on Jan. 1, 2005. The ordinance prohibits any resident from owning a pit bull within city limits, except those who had pit bulls at the time the law went into effect. Those dogs also had to be spayed or neutered. When those animals died, the owners were prohibited from
obtaining another pit bull.
Pit bull owners also had to purchase $100,000 or more in liability insurance to cover any injury caused by their pit bulls. The dogs had to be confined when on the owner's property and on a short leash and muzzled when the owner took the dog off the property.
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The stringent regulations have proven to be successful, Bauermeister said.
In 2004, prior to the ordinance, there were 29 reported pit bull bites. In 2005, the first year of the ordinance, that number dropped to 12.
There were hundred of pit bulls in the city when the ordinance went into effect, Bauermeister said. Today, he estimated there are only 80 remaining - at least those that are legal.
"The ordinance has done what we hoped it would and that's to put an end to these pit bull attacks," Bauermeister said.
Bless the Bullys