Two weeks ago in Legislative Updates, I reported that legislation that would restrict ownership of certain breeds and impose ownership and breeding limits was under consideration in Westwego, La., a suburb of New Orleans. According to the Times-Picayune, Councilman Glenn Green withdrew the proposal at a City Council meeting on July 8, although he defended it as an effort to try to make dog owners responsible for their pets.
Green says he sought stronger restrictions on pit bull owners, including requirements that owners of pit-bull type dogs have a permit to keep them, pay a special “pit bull license fee,” and get homeowner’s or renters liability insurance of at least $100,000, after one of his constituents, Linda Henry, was almost killed in March “after three of her boyfriend’s dogs attacked her” inside her own home. Henry lost an eye, an ear, the back of her scalp and eventually both of her arms as a result of the attack. Glenn explained to those gathered at the July 8 meeting that he has to “look at Ms. Henry every day, sitting out on her porch with unbelievable injuries,” and that it is his duty to try to protect his constituents.
Green withdrew the proposal after the public hearing because of vehement cries against it. Local dog owners, three new council members and other residents spoke out against the legislation. The councilman said he had received 14 death threats after submitting the proposed ordinance. But Green said he wasn’t trying to force residents to get rid of their dogs, he was simply trying to make them responsible for the actions of their pets. “You’re right,” he said. “Dogs don’t make themselves that way. Irresponsible owners do.”
In Texas the Animal Welfare Advisory Board in the city of Waco, 100 miles north of Austin, is drafting a proposal for a mandatory spay-neuter ordinance. AKC reports that, as drafted, the proposal would require all domestic animals in the city to be spayed or neutered except those that are under 4 months of age, unfit due to health reasons and used for “police and rescue work” and “for show.” AKC opposes, in general, the concept of breeding permits, bans or limits, and the mandatory spaying and neutering of dogs, and urges Waco residents to contact Waco Mayor Malcolm Duncan and City Council members to ask them to “not restrict the rights of responsible dog owners.” Contact information can be found at the city’s website.
Good news in North Carolina, where the House of Representatives unanimously approved Senate Bill 626 on July 18. Among other things, this bill will require shelters in North Carolina that have microchip scanners to use them to help identify owners of lost pets and reduce the amount of time those pets remain in shelters. AKC and the AKC’s Companion Animal Recovery have promised to donate 20 universal scanners to shelters that otherwise could not afford them.
The bill will also allow animal control officers, firefighters and other public officials to enter motor vehicles to “provide for the protection of animals confined in motor vehicles under circumstances that threaten the animals’ health.” The bill further seeks to relieve overcrowding at animal shelters and “facilitate adoptions” by establishing new rules for keeping those animals and making them available to be seen by owners seeking lost pets, as well as those looking to adopt a pet. SB 626 will now go back to the Senate for final approval.
Best In Show Daily reports biweekly on legislative actions around the country that will or may impact dog ownership. The American Kennel Club government relations office also maintains a list of Legislative Alerts on its website, where fanciers can stay up-to-date on current issues in dog-related legislation around the United States and find contact information when legislation is pending in their area.