BSL Alert – Lodi, New Jersey

The officials of Lodi, New Jersey are drafting an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of “pit bulls.” The ordinance is said to be based on that which the city of Garfield, N.J. drafted (but voted down) just this week. It is important to note that New Jersey state law prohibits the passage of breed specific legislation.

Please send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE opposition to breed specific legislation to the Lodi officials listed below. Please also include viable alternatives and suggestions for their consideration, as well.

It is expected that the ordinance will be revised and ready for a public hearing by June.

City of Lodi, New Jersey

Debra A. Cannizzo, Borough Clerk
dcannizzo@lodi-nj.org
One Memorial Drive
2nd Floor, Room 202
Lodi, NJ 07644

Mayor Bruce Masopust
masopust@lodi-nj.org
(973) 365-4005

Deputy Mayor Paula Fiduccia
fiduccia@lodi-nj.org
(973) 365-4005

Councilman Thomas DeSomma
desomma@lodi-nj.org
(973) 365-4005

Councilman Marc N. Schrieks
schrieks@lodi-nj.org
(973) 365-4005

Councilwoman Karen Viscana
viscana@lodi-nj.org
(973) 365-4005

Online contact form:
http://www.lodi-nj.org/Contact/

Pit bull ordinance is modeled after Garfield’s measure

Thursday, May 13, 2010
Last updated: Thursday May 13, 2010, 1:32 AM
BY SUSAN JOY CLARK
Community News (Lodi Edition)
STAFF WRITER

The borough council in Lodi is discussing the possibility of an ordinance regulating pit bulls.

The ordinance, still in draft form, would require specific licensing and control requirements for pit bulls if passed. Pit bull owners would be required to obtain a special annual license in addition to any other state or local license requirements.

Pit bulls would be prohibited from running loose and the ordinance would require them to be restrained with a leash with a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds, restricting movement to no more than 3 feet from the owner. Muzzles would also be required for the dogs while on public streets.

Children under 18 years of age would be prohibited from owning, controlling or walking a pit bull. The ordinance draft also states, “No person shall walk more than one pit bull at a time.”

On private premises that are fenced in, pit bulls would be allowed to be unleashed and unmuzzled, with the permission of the owner of the private property.

The ordinance defines pit bulls as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier or “dogs that have the appearance and characteristics of” any of the breeds listed earlier.

At a May 3 council work session, Borough Manager Tony Luna shared a story of a recent incident involving a pit bull.

“I was standing in front of my house with Joe Capizzi (school business administrator) and a young girl was walking up the street with a pit bull. She had it on the leash. That dog virtually dragged her across the street to come after me and Joe, who was standing by my car. Joe went up on the roof of the car and I went inside,” said Luna.

Luna told the council that 80 percent of dog bites in Lodi came from pit bulls.

The borough was inspired by a similar ordinance passed by the City of Garfield on April 12.
The ordinance draft was modeled in part after Garfield’s recently passed ordinance and
New Jersey law. It will be subject to revision before its introduction and final passage.

The New Jersey law states that “certain dogs are an increasingly serious and widespread threat to the safety and welfare of citizens by virtue of their unprovoked attacks on, and associated injury to, individuals and other animals” and “these attacks are in part
attributable to the failure of owners to confine and properly train and control these dogs.”
For these reasons, the law states that “it is therefore appropriate and necessary to impose a uniform set of State requirements on the owners of vicious or potentially dangerous dogs.”

This ordinance, if passed, would amend an existing vicious dog ordinance pertaining to dogs that have bitten or attacked people or other animals. According to that ordinance, a hearing should be held in Lodi Municipal Court to determine if a dog should be declared a vicious dog. Dogs determined to be vicious dogs by the municipal court judge should be muzzled and leashed.

At the May 3 work session, there was some discussion and uncertainty about one aspect of the drafted ordinance. The draft stated that a pit bull owner should present to the borough clerk either proof of liability insurance or a minimum $50,000 bond to cover any damage or injury.

Councilman Tom DeSomma, who owns a mastiff though not a pit bull, questioned whether this could possibly be a hardship to dog owners.

“Some insurance companies will not cover pit bulls,” said DeSomma.

“This is what is in the Garfield ordinance. It doesn’t mean we would have to follow that,” Lodi Borough Attorney Alan Spiniello responded.

Under the ordinance, as it stands right now, violators may be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned up to six months and/or sentenced a term of community service up to six months.

It is expected that the ordinance will be revised and ready for a public hearing by June.

E-mail: clarks@northjersey.com

The borough council in Lodi is discussing the possibility of an ordinance regulating pit bulls.
The ordinance, still in draft form, would require specific licensing and control requirements for pit bulls if passed. Pit bull owners would be required to obtain a special annual license in addition to any other state or local license requirements.
Pit bulls would be prohibited from running loose and the ordinance would require them to be restrained with a leash with a minimum tensile strength of 300 pounds, restricting movement to no more than 3 feet from the owner. Muzzles would also be required for the dogs while on public streets.
Children under 18 years of age would be prohibited from owning, controlling or walking a pit bull. The ordinance draft also states, “No person shall walk more than one pit bull at a time.”
On private premises that are fenced in, pit bulls would be allowed to be unleashed and unmuzzled, with the permission of the owner of the private property.
The ordinance defines pit bulls as the Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed, the American Staffordshire Terrier, the American Pit Bull Terrier or “dogs that have the appearance and characteristics of” any of the breeds listed earlier.
At a May 3 council work session, Borough Manager Tony Luna shared a story of a recent incident involving a pit bull.
“I was standing in front of my house with Joe Capizzi (school business administrator) and a young girl was walking up the street with a pit bull. She had it on the leash. That dog virtually dragged her across the street to come after me and Joe, who was standing by my car. Joe went up on the roof of the car and I went inside,” said Luna.
Luna told the council that 80 percent of dog bites in Lodi came from pit bulls.
The borough was inspired by a similar ordinance passed by the City of Garfield on April 12. The ordinance draft was modeled in part after Garfield’s recently passed ordinance and New Jersey law. It will be subject to revision before its introduction and final passage.
The New Jersey law states that “certain dogs are an increasingly serious and widespread threat to the safety and welfare of citizens by virtue of their unprovoked attacks on, and associated injury to, individuals and other animals” and “these attacks are in part attributable to the failure of owners to confine and properly train and control these dogs.” For these reasons, the law states that “it is therefore appropriate and necessary to impose a uniform set of State requirements on the owners of vicious or potentially dangerous dogs.”
This ordinance, if passed, would amend an existing vicious dog ordinance pertaining to dogs that have bitten or attacked people or other animals. According to that ordinance, a hearing should be held in Lodi Municipal Court to determine if a dog should be declared a vicious dog. Dogs determined to be vicious dogs by the municipal court judge should be muzzled and leashed.
At the May 3 work session, there was some discussion and uncertainty about one aspect of the drafted ordinance. The draft stated that a pit bull owner should present to the borough clerk either proof of liability insurance or a minimum $50,000 bond to cover any damage or injury.
Councilman Tom DeSomma, who owns a mastiff though not a pit bull, questioned whether this could possibly be a hardship to dog owners.
“Some insurance companies will not cover pit bulls,” said DeSomma.
“This is what is in the Garfield ordinance. It doesn’t mean we would have to follow that,” Lodi Borough Attorney Alan Spiniello responded.
Under the ordinance, as it stands right now, violators may be fined up to $1,000 and/or imprisoned up to six months and/or sentenced a term of community service up to six months.
It is expected that the ordinance will be revised and ready for a public hearing by June.
E-mail: clarks@northjersey.com

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