Last night, the South Bend, IN (population 101,000) city council voted unanimously to eliminate its 3 decade old law targeting specific breeds of dogs.
During the conversation, the city made a major overhaul to its entire animal welfare code and while I've not read the bill in detail (and the devil is always in the details), at first glance, it seems that they've added a lot of progressiving things:
1) Replaces breed-specific language with behavior based language for defining dangerous dogs
2) Provides for the practice of trap-neuter-return for controlling the feral cat population
3) Strengthens enforcement on repeat offenders
4) Eliminates pet limits
The momentum continues for cities to take a more favorable approach to animals in their community and focus their limited animal control resources on truly problem animals (based on their behavior) and problem pet owners. Cities are continuing to remove decades old breed-specific laws in favor of breed-neutral, behavior based laws as they continue to recognize that targeting laws based on behavior are more progressive and effective.
The new law reflects the trend of eliminating pet limits, and allowing for TNR, which are now the more current best practices in animal welfare laws.
It is great to see so many cities agreeing to change their outdated laws and replace them with smarter, more humane laws. And while this is happening all across the country right now, it is still happening too slowly, and in 19 cases now, states have stepped in and forced cities to make the changes by prohibiting breed-specific laws -- a trend I hope will also continue.