The city council in Iowa’s capital city is considering the rewording of an ordinance that currently targets the breed of a dog as the cause for violent behavior. Christine Pardee is pushing for the breed-neutral language in the city code. “Breed specific laws, often times, are expensive to enforce and they really don’t get to the root of the problem, and they really haven’t been proven to reduce bite incidents or attacks,” Pardee says.
Pardee wants the city code to take into account the aggressive history of a particular dog instead of the breed. The Director of the Humane Society in Perry, Abby Benifiel, says dogs like pitbulls don’t have to be violent. “If they are being kept inside, they’re never being exposed to the public, they’re not getting socialization, if they are not getting all of the things your normal healthy Labrador gets, those things are going to be encouraged, not trained out,” Benifiel says.
The City Council has appointed a task force to look into breed discriminatory legislation and is expected to vote on the ordinance soon. Other cities in Iowa that have changed their breed specific laws include Perry and Waterloo. Benifiel and Pardee made their comments on the Iowa Public Radio program River to River.