Another City Looks at Dangerous Dog Laws

Change to dangerous dog ordinance in Plattsmouth being crafted.

The current city ordinance contains “no accountability” after an animal has been declared potentially dangerous and that’s why a new ordinance is being proposed, said Police Chief Steve Rathman. He brought the issue before the Plattsmouth City Council.

Since 2010, eight potentially dangerous dog notices have been given in Plattsmouth; it’s believed there are only three animals in that category that still reside within the city limits.

The Cassgram reports City Councilman Terry D. Tilson said he knows for a fact that a big part of the problem was that dangerous dogs were brought to Plattsmouth when Omaha toughened its dangerous animal laws.

“I feel it is a risk to public safety” with the current ordinance, said Rathman. ”We should mirror our restrictions for keeping potentially dangerous and dangerous animals to the Nebraska State Statutes.”

Rathman said the new ordinance is needed so that enforcement begins before a bite happens. It should be documented, monitored and regulated “when that animal first displays potentially hazardous behaviors and aggressive tendencies…”

The threat of lawsuits is one reason to avoid breed specific laws. Instead a new detailed ordinance, “Pinpointing irresponsible owners and dogs with aggression/behavior problems is the key to fair, undisputed enforcement,” said Rathman in his memo to the mayor and council.

There is a council consensus to change the ordinance and the city’s animal control department is drafting a new one.

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