By the end of this legislative session, city-wide bans and regulations against specific breeds of dogs could be against South Dakota state law. That's a statement volunteers with the Sioux Falls Humane Society have been anxiously waiting to hear.
"Our experience here, basically, any dog of any breed has that possibility of having aggression. It's not a specific breed," Customer Service Manager Julia Hoefert said.
In their first-hand experiences with all kinds of dogs, the arguments never added up. They had no reason to believe that one breed was more aggressive than the other. Hoefert says it has more to do with how people raise each dog.
"It's their responsibility to make sure the animal has a good environment to live in, that it's not chained out on a chain all the time and becomes aggressive because it's bored and it has nothing to do and has no other outlet," Hoefert said.
The volunteers have answered questions about aggressive dog breeds before, and what they tell people is that one incident with a dog should never bring down an entire breed.
"We do try to work with them, we do try to educate them on what the real problem is and we've had some success with that. I think it's more of an education issue," Hoefert said.
Hoefert never thought it would take government intervention to help end the stigma against specific dog breeds, but she's ready to help others realize that every dog deserves a good home.
"As it comes down to it, it's a good thing. It does put the focus back on the people and the owners and the breeders and takes it off the breed, because it isn't a breed thing, it's a people thing," Hoefert said.
The House passed the bill this week 41 to 28 with opponents saying it takes away local control from each city, but supporters say the bill will hold people responsible for the actions of a dog instead of the breed.