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« Should shelter operations and animal control always be separate? | Main | Enforcing Breed Specific Laws is expensive »

June 02, 2009



Interesting. Unfortunately some of the scariest dogs in our community are owned by young guys who really want a scary dog. I'm betting they only become aware of local laws after an incident occurs and animal control is called.


Actually, Vaka, I think that's exactly who the "potentially dangerous" oridnance targets the most. This allows for anyone in the community to call animal control about the dog, and for AC to come to evaluate the situation -- BEFORE a bite occurs. It is, of course, up to the residents of a community to make the law work, but it can....and is.

Ellen Weinstock

Brent, thanks so much for highlighting the good news in your usual well-written and thoughtful way. Here in the Twin Cities, we had a fear-mongering legislator who just wanted to shriek about how "one bite is too many" (which actually would have meant we'd have to get rid of ALL dogs). Luckily, he was followed by a task force of smart, thoughtful people who looked to the experience of other places in drafting their own legislation. It's not perfect (I've heard complaints about AC going overboard sometimes), but it seems to be moving us in the right direction.

KC KS Kills Dogs

It's too bad Kansas City, Kansas is such an IGNORANT city. Just the other day they confiscated two supposed "pit bulls" from a nice Hispanic family that had just moved to the city in the past 2 wks. A neighbor supposedly called in the report to AC.

Now KCK AC wants to change the rules - their ordinance states that owners can sign the dogs over to a new owner if the new owner presents proper ID with a current utility bill, to prove residency outside of the city. Now AC won't release the dogs because the owner who just moved to the city doesn't yet have a KS drivers license and utility bill to match her new home address.

The owner's daughter's boyfriend (who doesn't own the dogs) balked at AC hoisting the catchpole on the dogs' necks, chocking the dogs during the confiscation process. Rather than see the dogs suffer the boyfriend tried to load the dogs into the truck and reason with the AC officer.

Now the gung ho AC dept wants to retaliate against this family and take out their vengence on the dogs.

Yet I wish all of Brent's worldwide audience could see in action this town - Kansas City, Kansas - there are so many strays running the streets and dogs mistreated and downright abused going on daily; you would think this midwestern town is a Third World Country.

Kansas City, Kansas is a SHINING EXAMPLE OF WHY BSL DOESN'T WORK AND NEVER WILL. BSL is fueled and maintained in cities full of egotistical, power hungry whores.

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I would suggest animal control to take care of scary dogs.


Excellent post! Forwarded it (and the news article) to City-County council members and Animal Welfare Summit members who are working on EFFECTIVE breed neutral solutions.

The Olathe ordinance (in it's legalese form) did not seem to clearly provide for PREVENTIVE evaluation and identification of PDDs. I've still got to read the Minneapolis ordinance, but from what I've read in Brent's post and in the newspaper article, it looks like it may provide for the kind of proactive protection that Councilman Speedy mistakenly believes could come from his MSN4PB proposal.


I called Minneapolis Animal Control to find out more specifics on how they determine that a dog is "potentially dangerous." I was hoping that they have something in place that is more proactive than requiring a dog to bite (without serious injury to human or animal) or maim another animal in order to be labeled potentially dangerous.

I have a neighbor who regularly tethers her lab mix out front and he barks wildly and lunges at anything that passes, but it's pretty clear to me that he's just wanting to give chase and/or play. I am not afraid of him breaking his chain. There are other dogs, behind wobbly fences or chained in their yards, whom I feel quite confident are not barking/lunging in a desire to play. If they are able to slip free from their property, I expect that passersby would, at a minimum be "menaced" by the dog, and in the case of those unfortunate enough to have their own beloved pet out for a walk, I would be surprised if the escapee did NOT attacked, maul and potentially kill the leashed pet, perhaps even inflicting injuries on the human should he or she mistakenly attempt to protect their pet.

I was hoping that the Minneapolis potentially dangerous dog ordinance might be able to protect the community from THOSE dogs. Perhaps not simply based on the aggressive behaviors displayed while contained by a behavior - after all, how do we decide which dogs are being "friendly" when they bark & lunge and which are showing warning signs that they are unstable and a potential danger to their neighborhood? (Potentially dangerous dogs seem to be a bit like pornography -- you know each when you see it, but it's hard to write a clear definition.)

I had hoped that perhaps Minneapolis allowed a combination of photographic/eye-witness evidence that said "scary" dog has been off its property (at-large) WITH behavioral observation ON it's property that would allow the dog to be deemed "potentially dangerous" even if it had never "menaced", chased, bit or injured anyone or anything while off its own property.

The fact that the dog is *sometimes* at large is, IMO, partial evidence that the dog is, at a minimum, posing a low level danger threat to the community due to the increased likelihood that it could causes a car or bicycle accident. If you combine the occasional "at-large" risk with the aggressive/menacing behaviors it displays on its own property (or if the owner has received multiple citations from photographic or eye-witness evidence that the dog continues to escape the property), I would think it could be classified as a slightly higher "potentially dangerous" level, however, it doesn't sound like that is how Minneapolis is using their PDD ordinance.

Is it unreasonable to have multiple levels of potentially dangerous that include owner behavior modification (such as containing the dog before opening doors or gates to prevent accidental escapes) for dogs that have never menaced, chased or bitten someone or something?



This is one thing I like about the Olathe law slight more than the Minneapolis law. In the Olathe law, the third definition of a "dangerous dog" is: "Has a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack unprovoked, causing injury or otherwise threatening the safety of humans or domestic animals" that are clearly a threat to others, even though they've never been at-large per se.

I agree that a "potentially dangerous" dog is something that is hard to define, but you know it when you see it. That's why I think that on top of whatever law you put in place, there has to be a decent amount of time spent with the officers who enforce the laws to be sure they understand animal behavior enough to clearly tell the difference. As much as I like the ordinance, it could be a disaster if a badly trained (or untrained) animal control staff went out to enforce it.

I think this is broad enough to get to the


What I like about "potentially dangerous" in the Olathe ord is that it gives the owners a chance to rectify the situation/behavior and loose the PD label.

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There are 96 different breeds of dogs between the 2 cities that have made the 'potentially dangerous" list -with the most popular breeds being the ones with the most listed on the list.

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Fortunately, more and more cities are taking this smarter, more effective, breed neutral approach which is quite to assure.

David Bouchez

I agree. It does no good to just profile a breed of dog, when the problem is usually the ignorance, or just plain obstinance of the dog owner. I believe that if any dog is trained properly, they will not pose a threat to people - most of the problems are people problems not dog problems.


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