North Dakota Devils Lake-May Not Be Going Ahead With Pit Bull Ban
Devils Lake may eliminate its ban on pit bulls after local leaders said language in city code already addresses dangerous animals.
The Devils Lake Commission asked City Attorney Tom Traynor to draft an amended document to eliminate a ban on specific dog breeds, including pit bulls. The request comes after a resident who is considering adopting a pit bull asked the city to reconsider its position on the ban.
“Pit bulls and some of these other breeds, it’s how they are raised,” Mayor Richard Johnson said. “Responsible owners, it is their duty to train (their dogs) in the right way. If you train them to be aggressive, a Chihuahua can be aggressive.”
Adopted in 1987, the animal section in the city’s code of ordinances prohibits residents from keeping, owning, harboring or in any way possessing a pit bull within city limits. That includes bull terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, dogs mixed with the aforementioned breeds or any dogs that have “the appearance and characteristics of being predominately of the breeds … commonly known as pit bulls, pit bull dogs or pit bull terriers.”
Those who possess pit bulls could face a $500 fine and spend up to 30 days in jail. The dog also would be removed from the city.
There is enough language in the city’s ordinance to address dogs that may be considered dangerous, City Administrator Terry Johnston said. Johnson agreed, stating the ordinance allows the city to address any dangerous animal, whether they be dogs, cats or any other pet allowed within city limits.
“To be breed-specific is probably not good,” Johnson said, adding he and commissioners questioned why the city continued to target pit bull breeds.
City code lays out what defines a dangerous animal, including those that attack people without provocation.
“I got the sense that the commission wants to take a good, hard look at it and get some input from the people,” he said. “We’ll see once we get more public information out on it.”
The city likely will have the first reading of the amendment eliminating its ban on pit bulls at the Nov. 7 commission meeting. A decision to adopt or reject the amendment could be made as early as Nov. 21.
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