Omaha, NE Committee quiet on possible pit bull ban

Pits in the news and info on Breed Specific Legislation.

Postby cheekymunkee » August 14th, 2008, 10:16 pm

City Leaders Mull Dangerous Dog Ordinance
Committee Could Have Working Draft By The End Of August
POSTED: 6:12 pm CDT August 11, 2008
UPDATED: 6:33 pm CDT August 11, 2008
OMAHA, Neb. -- Omaha could soon have one of the most comprehensive dangerous dog ordinances in the country.

On Monday, the mayor's committee met to go over the final details of the new law.

Police Chief Eric Buske, Councilman Garry Gernandt, members of the Humane Society and the city attorney all attended the hour-long meeting.

However, no one would go into the specifics of the measure after the meeting.

“I think the emphasis has really been public safety and how do we protect the citizens of Omaha in a rational, reasonable, method and I think the package we're going present is extremely comprehensive, one of the most comprehensive in the country,” Nebraska Humane Society worker Judy Varner said.

All sides said they're hopeful they'll have something to present to the city council before the end of the month.

Omaha Pet Proposal Nearing End Of Phase One
Committee to make recommendation to City Council
Posted: 3:11 PM Aug 11, 2008
Last Updated: 7:44 PM Aug 11, 2008

The mayor's committee appointed to look into the matter of a new pet ordinance for Omaha met again Monday to discuss options. Details could be announced by next week.

Talk of a possible pit bull ban has created quite a stir following the attack on a 15-month-old girl in June. The city says it's time to do something to protect the public.

The committee is working on a proposal, whether that be to ban certain breeds of dogs or harsher punishments for owners if they harbor a dangerous animal or fail to keep their pet on a leash.

"He'll lick ‘em to death,” says June Smith. Shadow is part lab, part cocker spaniel, but now he's all hero.

"As we were walking back the next thing I know I've got this pit bull coming right at me and Shadow jumped in front and got the brunt of it," says Smith, who says she was walking her dog Sunday evening at South 8th Street and 2nd Avenue in Council Bluffs when what she thought was a pit bull came charging.

"I started screaming and it was like I was screaming forever. I kept hollering, help somebody, help."

Council Bluffs Animal Control says the dog that attacked was not a pit bull, but an American bulldog, still part of the so-called “bully breeds."

"I thought he was gonna kill Shadow,” says Smith. “He was going for his neck and just was on top of him and I thought I was never gonna see my dog again."

In Council Bluffs, a pit bull ban has been in effect since 2005 so this brings up the question, if Omaha creates a similar ban will we really stop dog attacks from happening?

"We want to do everything we can to increase public safety across the city as it relates to any dog bite incident,” says Don Thorson, Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey’s deputy chief of staff.

A committee made up of Omaha City Council and Humane Society representatives, along with police and the mayor's office, is working to create an ordinance.

"I think the emphasis has really been public safety and how do we protect the citizens of Omaha in a rational, reasonable method and I think the package that we're going to present is extremely comprehensive," notes Nebraska Humane Society president Judy Varner.

The committee has looked at other cities' bans and hopes to create what will be best for Omaha. "I think this is going to be one of the most comprehensive in the country," says Varner.

The committee has not said if the ordinance will ban a specific breed or includes all so-called dangerous dogs. The proposal will next go to the City Council.

“They're going to review it, what we come up with and they're going to hash it out,” says Thorson. “There will be a public hearing and at the end of the day we're going to have a good ordinance."

Smith hopes that in time it will prevent other tragedies from happening. "What if that had been a child that was walking to school or home from school or whatever, there's already been enough attacks around here."

Council Bluffs' ban keeps any new pit bulls from coming into the city.

Owners who had their pets before 2005 have been able to keep them, but they must re-license them every year.

Council Bluffs has not had any pit bull bites so far this year and total dog bites are also down.

Pit Bull Committee Meets Again
POSTED: 12:11 pm CDT August 11, 2008
UPDATED: 12:41 pm CDT August 11, 2008

OMAHA, Neb. -- The city's pit bull committee will meet again Monday in a continuing effort to get an ordinance to the city council by the middle of this month.

Committee members are working on a final draft of what has been described as a "combination dangerous dog ordinance and partial pit bull ban."

The draft must go through three readings and a public hearing before it can be passed.

Jodi Preis
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