As part of an effort to rewrite the city’s municipal code, a new South Bend, Indiana city council committee will discuss issues involving the care and control of animals today. Part of the committee’s job will be deciding whether to ban certain breeds of animals.
The committee, headed up by Councilwoman Valerie Schey, includes 3 councilmen and 6 citizens, including people who head up animal welfare and rescue organizations. Schey says the update is necessary because the current law was written in 1985, and it is outdated and vague, making it difficult to enforce and understand. The goal of the committee to is to bring the chapter up to today’s standard of care.
One of the issues the group will discuss is breed specific legislation. The current city code regulates the ownership of American Pit Bull Terriers, and defines those dogs as follows:
The breed of dog registered and described by the United Kennel Club (UKC) and the American Dog Breeders Association (ADBA) as the American Pit Bull Terrier, also known as the pit bull terrier, and any crossbreed of the American Pit Bull Terrier; but does not include the breeds known as the American Staffordshire Terrier, the Staffordshire Bull Terrier, the English Bulldog, the Bull Terrier, or the Bulldog, all of which are recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC).
Councilwoman Schey believes that dogs should be judged dangerous by their temperament and actions, NOT their breed. However, others disagree and maintain that “pit bulls” are dangerous and should be banned.
The committee will also examine the city’s pet limit, which is capped at 3 animals per household, as well as discuss adding some anti-tethering language to the ordinance.
The committee will meet for the first time today, May 16, 2013, at 5:30 p.m. on the 4th floor of the County City Building. The group plans to have the new language ready for the full council’s approval by the end of June.
Please reach out to the South Bend officials and encourage them to eliminate the breed specific language contained in their current animal control ordinance. Urge officials to take this opportunity to craft a comprehensive breed-neutral ordinance that targets reckless and irresponsible dog owners, and educates the public on responsible ownership practices, as well as prevention of dog bites.
We also recommend sending the city officials the NAIA publication, “A Guide to Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.” This guide has some excellent points that can help lay the groundwork for an ordinance that will create a safer environment, and enhance the lives and benefit all members of the community – humans and animals.
South Bend Common Council
227 West Jefferson Blvd., Suite 400 S
South Bend, Indiana 46601
Block Copy & Paste e-mail contact for Common Council
-or- Council as a whole:
City Clerk John Voorde
Office of the Clerk
227 West Jefferson Blvd.
Suite 400 S
South Bend, Indiana 46601
Mayor Pete Buttigieg
City Council meeting minutes and agendas can be found here.