South Bend, IN: Hearing and vote on bill that would repeal BSL 5/28/14

South Bend, Indiana Councilwoman Valerie Schey is asking residents to attend the next city council meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. for the hearing and vote on Bill 17-14.

According to Councilwoman Schey:

This Bill, “The Responsible Pet and Animal Care and Control Regulations” is the result of twelve months of dedicated research and review by a 9 member citizen committee. This bill enhances community safety by empowering Animal Control Officers and strengthens punishment for repeat offenders. It also furthers our goal making South Bend a 21st Century City by establishing policies that are more humane and up to date. To review the proposed bill, click here:

We’ve been following the progress of the effort to rewrite South Bend’s animal control code since May 2013, when the city council created a committee to discuss and review issues involving the care and control of animals. In addition, we’ve been extremely fortunate to have updates from Councilwoman Valerie Schey, who spearheaded the move for positive change in South Bend.

The committee’s goal was to bring the entire animal control chapter up to today’s standard of care, and implements several improvements to create a community that benefits the welfare and safety of all who reside in South Bend, people and animals.

One of the amendments in Bill 17-14 is the elimination of the breed specific language targeting “pit bulls.”

The current city code automatically deems dogs identified as pit bulls as “dangerous,” and their owners are required to license their dogs with the city, obtain liability insurance, adhere to strict confinement and muzzling regulations, provide photographs, and tattoo or microchip their dogs.

Schey and her fellow committee members believe dogs should be judged dangerous by their temperament and actions, NOT their breed, and this is reflected in the new law.

Some of the other changes to the city code include a universal leash law, requiring a special license for dogs deemed dangerous by their actions, as well as requiring those dogs to be spayed or neutered. Also included is the elimination of the current limit on the number of pets in a household, as well as tethering limitations.

All the committee members have put an incredible amount of hard work and research in their effort to improve the city’s animal control law. The input and suggestions  of residents were encouraged and appreciated from the very start of this process, and the results of all those efforts, culminated in a comprehensive and streamlined animal control code, are expected to pass easily.

South Bend residents, please join your city council on March 28, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. and usher in a new era in animal control – one that enhances the welfare and safety of the community by holding pet owners to a higher accountability and establishes guidelines for a more humane environment for all pets within the city limits.

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