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Second reading of pit bull ordinance approved

By Staff | Jun 11, 2018

The second reading of an ordinance that would remove pit bulls from the list of animals prohibited within Rugby city limits passed Monday evening during a regular meeting of the Rugby City Council at the Rugby City Hall.

The council passed the second reading of Ordinance No. 411, which strikes Chapter 6.08.020, the prohibition on pit bulls, from city ordinances.

Prior to the vote, Ward 4 Councilwoman Sue Steinke said she and Rugby resident Nathan Kleespie talked and he asked if the city would rework its vicious animal ordinance.

Chapter 6.08.020 said “It shall be unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the City of Rugby, North Dakota any pit bull dog.” The section defined a pit bull as any dog that is a bull breed; the Staffordshire bull terrier, American Staffordshire terrier or American pit bull terrier breeds; mixed breeds known as pit bulls; or dogs that have the appearance or characteristics of bull terriers, Staffordshire, American Staffordshire, American pit bull or any other breeds commonly known as pit bulls. Dogs of that type that were licensed and vaccinated and living in the city limits prior to Dec. 5, 2011 were “grandfathered” in.

During a Feb. 21 meeting of the city’s Ordinance Committee, Rugby Police Chief John Rose questioned the committee’s stand on breed specific legislation and felt that his department would be able to determine whether a dog would be vicious but would not be experts in determining breed.

In the March 21 committee meeting, Steinke explained Rose’s concern over breed-specific language in Chapter 6.08 and the committee discussed related instances and asked Auditor Jennifer Stewart to reach out to other cities with regards to their ordinances.

In the April 18 meeting, the committee reviewed responses Stewart had received after the March meeting. Stewart and the committee reviewed that out of 27 complaints filed with the city in 2017, five were dog complaints, and out of eight filed so far this year only two were dog complaints. The committee asked Stewart to see how other cities define “vicious dogs” and moved to recommend striking Chapter 6.08.020 from the Municipal Code.

The council passed the first reading of Ordinance No. 411 during their May regular meeting.

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