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Dog Attack Spurs Conversation

June 11, 2012, 9:53 PM by Don Jorgensen

Dog Attack Spurs Conversation

The Sioux Falls City Council is going to be looking at whether it needs to put a ban on certain breeds of dogs. The issue has come up following a recent attack in the city.  And now some say it's time to take a closer look at the issue.

Pit bulls have long had a bad reputation for being vicious.

Last week, a Sioux Falls man was hospitalized after he was mauled by two pit bulls while playing basketball at a park. A police officer shot and killed one of the dogs when it went after him.

It's attacks like that that has the city council considering tougher restrictions on certain breeds.

City Councilman Kermit Staggers says he's received numerous emails from people on both sides of the issue.

"Both sides seem to be very, very passionate about this; that's what I'm most surprised about is the passion over this," Staggers said. 

One thought would be to require dog owners of certain breeds to register with the city and carry insurance.

A national study presented to the council shows that more than 70 percent of all dog bites or attacks are from pit bulls and Rotweilers.

But Staggers says he's not ready to support a ban or tougher regulations on people who own those breeds.

"I remember out campaigning, I had a dog bite me.  I don't necessarily think we ban that dog, but these kind of things do happen, so we have to get some kind of perspective," Staggers said.

Over the next few months, the city council wants to gather information and listen to pet owners and their concerns.

"At this time, I'm just wanting to hear what kind of information we receive.  I think it's important to keep in mind, when you have legislation, it's very important to thoroughly vet the issue itself because sometimes when you have one incident taking place and you respond by passing legislation, sometimes that's not the best legislation to pass," Staggers said.

The city council plans to begin taking up the issue next month.

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