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Metro Council approves animal control ordinance that deals with dangerous dogs and unaltered animals

Wednesday December 20, 2006

Majority Caucus
Louisville Metro Council
For More Information Contact:
Tony Hyatt: 574-4137/ 526-3622
For Immediate release:

Louisville – By a vote of 16 to 8, the Louisville Metro Council approved an animal control ordinance that enhances public safety and promotes responsible pet ownership.

"I am pleased there has been a great deal of effort in moving this issue forward,” says Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D) 5, the primary sponsor of the ordinance.

In a council session that lasted almost nine hours, the Council reviewed every section of the ordinance. Attempts to table the ordinance were defeated by Council democrats who believed it was time for this measure to be voted on.

"This vote shows that we are serious about this public safety problem," says Hamilton.

New revisions in the ordinance removed breed specific legislation. Now, any unaltered animal will face the same restrictions and higher license fees that were proposed for an unaltered pit bull if owners decide to keep them as pets.. Whether a dangerous dog is a pit bull, rottweiller or Chihuahua, they will all be held to the same higher standard and restrictions.

"Make no mistake for the last week, many groups saw that we were serious about this effort,” says Councilman Rick Blackwell (D) 12. "We accommodated many groups who wanted to take out breed specific, so we are now treating all dogs the same.”

Hamilton began this effort more than a year ago. She became more determined in getting dangerous dogs out of neighborhoods after the maulings of a 14 month old child and a 60 year old man. In the months that followed, a task force was created to hear from breeders, trainers, Metro Animal Services, the Humane Society, postal workers, veterinarians and others from the community.

The Councilwoman filed a revised ordinance in August.
 Now, there will no longer be a requirement for $100,000 in homeowners insurance if you keep an unaltered pit bull.

"I am confident that the ordinance makes all pet owners liable in the event anyone is injured in an attack and we will reduce pet overpopulation," says Hamilton.

 Among the highlights of the proposal:

• Non breed specific
• All unaltered animals are treated equally
• Owners of unaltered animals, potentially dangerous and dangerous dogs face higher licensing fees and confinement restrictions.
• Pet owners who have licensed unaltered pets will not face higher fees
• Fencing requirements for unaltered dogs dropped from seven to six feet
• Hunting activities and dog competitions are exempted along with agricultural operations for unaltered dogs
• There are limits to how long an animal can be tethered in a yard
• Metro Animal Service officers have more leeway in on-site enforcement
• Micro chipping of animals is required if they are impounded

The measure will take effect as soon as it signed by the Mayor.

Sponsor(s):
Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D) 5
Rick Blackwell (D) 12