Opportunity to repeal pit bull ordinance in Bloomer, Wisconsin

Officials in the city of Bloomer, Wisconsin have received a request from a resident asking them to revise Ordinance 7-1-9 which targets “pit bulls.”  The city’s current ordinance prohibits pit bulls in the city unless owners meet certain requirements, including that the dogs are adopted through the humane society.

Resident Charlene Ferraro added a pit bull puppy to her family earlier this year, but the puppy was not adopted through a humane society.  Ms. Ferraro reported they got the dog when she was 9 weeks old.  They obtained a $300,000 liability insurance policy, the puppy is up to date on her shots, and she started basic training classes on Sept. 4, 2013.  Ms. Ferraro’s goal is to eventually use her dog  as a therapy dog.

At the September 11, 2013 city council meeting, Aldermen Meinen and Koehler questioned why the ordinance targeted pits bulls as opposed to dangerous dogs in general.  They also discussed exemptions the council granted to two other residents in 2011 and 2012.

In 2012, Bloomer officials amended the law banning pit bulls from the city limits to allow the dogs if owners met several requirements.  Police Chief Zwiefelhofer advised the council that enforcement of the ordinance was problematic then, and continues to be a problem.

After much discussion, the council decided to hold a public hearing regarding the ordinance and possible changes to be held prior to their next meeting on Sept. 25, 2013.

The issue was discussed at the September 25 meeting, however, the council took no action.

I spoke with the city clerk this afternoon, and she advised that Chief Zwiefelhofer and Alderman James Koehler are working on a proposal, and the issue will be brought up at a future council meeting.

RESIDENTS OF BLOOMER:  Please reach out to city officials and encourage them to repeal Ordinance 7-1-9 and enact in its place a comprehensive breed-neutral ordinance that targets reckless and irresponsible dog owners, regardless of the breed of dog they own.  Please provide them with alternate ordinances for their consideration, as well as publications like the NAIA’s “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.

Residents will also want to keep an eye on upcoming council meeting agendas in order to know when the issue will next be discussed.  Meeting minutes and agendas can be found here.  

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