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Aberdeen Looks At Dog Laws Again

November 13, 2012, 10:26 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Aberdeen Looks At Dog Laws Again
ABERDEEN, SD -

After passing stricter dog laws last year, Aberdeen is looking at its animal control ordinances again.  Discussion resurfaced when a dog which city leaders say was part Pit Bull killed a smaller dog in town.

Only half the city council members made it to the meeting Tuesday to discuss animal control. So the session became a preview for the meeting which is now postponed until later this month.

Some council members made motions last year to ban specific dog breeds that they consider dangerous. That didn't happen. But the debate looks like it will head that direction again.

"A Chihuahua bite is different than a Pit Bull bite," Council Member Dave Bunsness said.

"I'm still kind of opposed to a ban. However, I am still open to the classification as a dangerous breed," Council Member Clint Rux said.

Before council members fully discuss the issue, they've asked city employees to gather more information. Bunsness, who has supported a breed specific ban in the past, requested local statistics about dog bites and their severity.

"I have an opinion of this particular breed but I want to see the numbers," Bunsness said.

Rux, who has opposed breed specific laws, is asking for cost estimates to add another animal control officer in the city, saying the current one is busy and only available during regular business hours.

"It doesn't matter what we pass if we can't enforce it because our animal control officer is dealing with, by my figures, about a call an hour," Rux said.

Aberdeen currently restricts dogs deemed dangerous. But rather than a breed given that label, individual dogs earn the title based on behavior. But some people say more needs to be done.

When an ordinance came before the city council last year to ban specific breeds, it only received a few votes.

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