UPDATE: Indianapolis Holds Public Hearing on Dog Violence

The Indianapolis City Council has decided not to pursue breed-specific legislation. Councilwoman...

The Indianapolis City Council has decided not to pursue breed-specific legislation. Councilwoman Sherron Franklin will be proposing a stricter dangerous dog ordinance that requires dogs that have been determined to be dangerous to be confined by a fence or specified structure and imposes a minimum $500 fine for violators. AKC thanks the fanciers and concerned dog owners who attended the meeting and contacted their city officials. 

[June 12, 2006]
 

Indianapolis Holds Public Hearing on Dog Violence


In the wake of two vicious dog attacks, the Indianapolis Rules and Public Policy Committee is holding a public hearing June 14th to discuss possible legislative action. Concerned dog owners and fanciers are needed to attend this hearing and educate legislators about why a breed-specific ordinance in not an effective solution.

Mayor Brad Peterson has indicated in recent weeks that he might support a breed-specific ordinance. In 2005, Councillor Franklin introduced a breed-specific ordinance to declare Rottweilers, American Staffordshire Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Pit Bull Terriers dangerous dogs, but the proposal failed to have a hearing within six months of its introduction.

The American Kennel Club wholeheartedly supports legislators' desire to protect their constituents and prevent tragic incidents from occurring.  However, breed specific dangerous dog laws are ineffective at keeping communities safe.  Rather than hold all dog owners accountable for their behavior, these laws place restrictions only on the owners of certain breeds of dogs.  If specific breeds are banned, owners intent on using their dogs for malicious purposes, such as dog fighting or criminal activities, will simply change to another breed of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety.

AKC believes strongly enforced dog control laws such as leash laws, generic guidelines for dealing with dangerous dogs, and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all positive ways to protect communities from future dog attacks.

What You Can Do:

  • Attend the public hearing on June 14th.
    Room 260
    City-County Building
    200 E. Washington St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
     
  • Contact Mayor Brad Peterson.
    2501 City-County Building
    200 E. Washington Street
    Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
    Phone: (317) 327-3601
    Fax:     (317) 327-3980
     
  • Contact your representative on the Indianapolis City Council. To find out who represents you on the Indianapolis City Council, click here http://imaps.indygov.org/GovntProfile/

    The Honorable or Councillor (Name)
    241 City-County Building
    200 E. Washington St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46204
     (317) 327-4242

 

Points to Address:

  • Breed-specific laws are not the best way to protect communities. An owner intent on using his or her dogs for malicious purposes will simply be able to switch to another type of dog and continue to jeopardize public safety. The list of regulated breeds or types could grow every year without ever addressing responsible dog ownership. Deeds, not breeds, should be addressed.
     
  • Breed-specific laws are hard to enforce. Breed identification requires expert knowledge of the individual breeds, placing great burden on local officials.
     
  • Breed-specific laws are unfair to responsible owners.
     
  • Breed-specific laws increase costs for the community. Shelter costs for the community could rise as citizens abandon targeted breeds and adoptable dogs of the targeted breeds could be euthanized at the shelter.
     
  • Some communities have had their breed-specific laws overturned on constitutional grounds. Because proper identification of what dogs would be included is difficult or impossible, the law may be deemed unconstitutionally vague.
     
  • Strongly enforced animal control laws (such as leash laws), generic guidelines on dealing with dangerous dogs and increased public education efforts to promote responsible dog ownership are all better ways to protect communities from dangerous animals.
     
  • Breed-specific legislation is opposed by the AKC, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the National Animal Control Association, the ASPCA, and a host of national animal welfare organizations that have studied the issue and recognize that targeting breeds simply does not work.

 

For more information please contact:

AKC's Canine Legislation department
919-816-3720
doglaw@akc.org