New Rules For Dogs Expected By Month's End
Pit bull ban one possibility for Omaha
Posted: 4:45 PM Aug 4, 2008
Last Updated: 7:31 PM Aug 4, 2008
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Omaha will likely have a plan in place for the mayor by the end of the month concerning new rules regulating pit bulls or other breeds.
That's when the Nebraska Humane Society believes the work of a committee may wrap up and then that plan would go before the public and City Council.
Omaha has 1,500 licensed pit bulls, but experts believe there are another 4,500 that aren't licensed. Would a ban like the one Council Bluffs has on the breed make any difference to those who aren't following the rules anyway?
We're just five weeks removed from the terrifying wagon ride that 16-month-old Charlotte Blevins took through her neighborhood at 13th and Pine. A pit bull broke free from its cloth leash and attacked. The toddler lost part of her scalp.
“There's too many irresponsible owners,” says Charlotte’s mother, Wendy Blevins. The pit bull bit her, too. "All the laws and ordinances that were in place said it has to be on a leash. It was. It has to have its shots. It did. It has to be licensed. It was. This lady followed all the laws that were in place and this dog took down four people and nearly killed two children."
"Nothing's off the table,” says Mark Langan with the Nebraska Humane Society, which made it clear Monday that all possibilities still exist.
The committee, made up of the Humane Society and city officials, is considering everything from pit bull bans to new rules for specific dogs and their owners to new rules for all dogs or some sort of combination.
"That would hopefully identify dogs that exhibit aggressive behavior before they bite and they could be labeled potentially dangerous animals,” says Langan.
And how do you do that? "There would criteria that we're not yet ready to talk about, criteria that we're still looking at that the owner would have to abide by to prevent that dog from escalating the aggressiveness into a bite situation."
Council Bluffs started a pit bull ban three years ago, meaning no new pit bulls were allowed and existing ones had to register, get a microchip, get spayed or neutered and the owner needed insurance. There hasn't been a pit bull bite reported in Council Bluffs this year.
Could what Council Bluffs did work in a larger city like Omaha? "I believe it could work, it's all based on how it's approached, how it's enforced and a lot of it's gonna depend on the verbiage of the ordinance,” says Council Bluffs animal control officer Galen Barrett.
Langan, while complementary of Council Bluffs’ success, isn't sure Omaha could copy that with the same success. Council Bluffs has 160 registered pit bulls, Omaha has 1,500.
Bless the Bullys