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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
South Bend officials discuss regulation of pit bulls

South Bend, IN - South Bend has already taken steps to regulate pit bulls, but people wonder if it's ready to be one of a handful of communities across the country to take the ultimate step, and ban the breed.

The city of Denver did it in the eighties, and one South Bend city council member says she's very serious, and confident, it's only a matter of time before a pit bull ban is proposed and debated here.

There are seven pit bulls locked up at South Bend's animal control facility.

There are seven pit bulls locked up at South Bend's animal control facility

It's just another week's worth of work, for officers here that have impounded nearly 400 pit bulls, so far this year.

"If you average them out, through the end of august, one point four two pit bulls a day we impound. So, we basically one dog coming in here every single day," said, Gary Libbey of South Bend animal control.

"Based on my numbers, about a third of the animals canines we get through our shelter are pit bulls, pit bull mixes," Libbey said.

Animal control officers spend so much time rounding up pit bulls, some wonder if it's not time to just ban the breed altogether.

"It's still on the table, it's something we need to look into, talk to legal department, talk to the council, talk with the mayor, research the legal ramifications," said Libbey.

Animal control officers spend so much time rounding up pit bulls, some wonder if it's not time to just ban the breed altogether

Animal control said 75% of the pit bulls that end up here, are never reclaimed by their owners, which means only a quarter of the pit bull owners caught breaking the rules, respond by following them.

"It's an uphill battle for us, it's nothing for us to impound a pit bull or two from an address, two months later, there's different dogs there, different pit bulls, they never reclaimed the ones we originally impounded," said Libbey.

South Bend councilwoman Charlotte Pfeiffer said she is very serious about this subject, and she says she's sure, that once all the information is gathered a pit bull ban will be debated in South Bend.

http://www.wndu. com/news/ 102006/news_ 53100.php? PRINT_VERSIonfiltered= 1

City of South Bend
1200 County-City Building • 227 W. Jefferson Blvd
South Bend, Indiana 46601

Mayor, Office of the
227 West Jefferson Blvd. • Suite 1400 N
South Bend, Indiana 46601
574.235.9261 • Email

Clerk, Office of the
227 West Jefferson Blvd. • Suite 400
South Bend, Indiana 46601
574.235.9221 • Email

Common Council (City Council)
227 West Jefferson Blvd. • Suite 400 S
South Bend, Indiana 46601
574.235.9221 • Email

Council Members:
District 1: D. Dieter |
District 2: C. Pfeifer |
District 3: R. Kelly |
District 4: A. Puzzello |
District 5: D. Varner |
District 6: E. Kuspa |
At Large: T. Rouse |
At Large: A. Kirsits |
At Large: K. White

Meeting Agendas & Minutes:
http://www.southben din.gov/city/ common_council/ 2006_meeting_ agendas__ _minutes. asp

crossposted from bsl workshop

3,534 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
County council did well by people and pets (South Bend, IN)

County council did well by people and pets

Wouldn't it be wonderful to live in a community in which everyone behaved responsibly even if there were no laws that required them to do so? If that community exists, we haven't seen it yet.

The next best thing is for legislative bodies to enact laws that set reasonable standards of conduct for the well-being of all. That is what the St. Joseph County Council did on Jan. 9 when it passed a comprehensive animal care and control ordinance.

The ordinance requires something of all dog and cat owners. And it gives law enforcement officials the authority to demand more of the irresponsible ones.

Some opponents have called the law burdensome to responsible owners. That thinking is a mystery to us. Responsible people should be celebrating the fact that there finally is a good way to hold neglectful animal owners to a higher standard.

There are five basic companion animal problems in this community: (1) dog and cat overpopulation, (2) owners' failure to keep dogs and cats under their control, (3) dangerous dogs, (4) owners' failure to comply with the state rabies inoculation law, and (5) animal abuse.

The county ordinance addresses all of these concerns. It establishes licensing of dogs, cats and ferrets through veterinarian offices and makes compliance with the state rabies vaccination law a precondition for obtaining a license. License fees are only $5 for animals that are spayed or neutered and microchipped, and up to $25 for those that aren't.

The graduated fee structure is fair, and perhaps the greatest strength of the new law. It addresses the issues of pet overpopulation and owners' failure to control their pets.

Requiring owners of dogs or cats that have litters to obtain breeder permits is important, too. In St. Joseph County, thousands of unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year by the Humane Society of St. Joseph County and South Bend Animal Care and Control -- a direct consequence of indiscriminate breeding.

Some people were disappointed that language singling out pit bull terriers as dangerous dogs was removed from the final version of the law. While we understand that fight-bred pit bulls are a problem, the principle of holding owners responsible for their dogs' behavior remains intact. That's what matters most.

Much hard work went into developing this ordinance, both by council members and Dr. Carol Ecker, president of the Humane Society. We trust that the St. Joseph County commissioners will appreciate that effort and sign the ordinance into law.

Of course, any law is only as good as its enforcement. Just as this is a community that needs laws, it's also a community that needs to require that laws be obeyed.

The law is expected to go into effect "no sooner than April 1." That date should be the county's deadline for having veterinarians prepared to dispense licenses. Many people take their pets to the veterinarian in the spring for heartworm testing and to stock up on parasite protection products. Better for veterinarians to save them a trip by having licenses on hand and a process for issuing them in place.

Licensing fees will offset the county's costs now in contracting for animal control with the Humane Society of St. Joseph County. We hope some of the money will be directed toward boosting enforcement as well.

South Bend and Mishawaka both have strong animal control laws. The new county law will apply only in unincorporated areas. From the time it first was introduced, we urged county, South Bend and Mishawaka officials to put their heads together and draft a countywide version that combined the best of each law. That didn't happen. Perhaps it still will someday, if the St. Joseph County Health Department will step up and become the agency to boost the idea. For now, the people and animals of this community are better off because of the county council's conscientious effort.


crossposted bsl workshop
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