When a dangerous dog bites someone, too often the victim is a child or someone unable to defend themselves.
Rep. Michael Paymar (DFL-St. Paul) said the real issue is dangerous owners of dogs, more often than the dogs themselves.
HF2906/SF2876*, sponsored by Paymar and Sen. Ellen Anderson (DFL-St. Paul), would strengthen restrictions on dangerous dog owners. Approved as amended by the House April 21 130-0, the Senate did not concur and has requested a conference committee to work out the differences.
Paymar said the bill would give animal control authorities the tools to protect the public from dog attacks. Animal control professionals agree that most dangerous dogs are “created by irresponsible ownership,” he said.
The bill would increase the surety bond required by an owner of a dangerous dog from $50,000 to $300,000, and prohibit dog ownership for anyone who has repeatedly been convicted of crimes involving dangerous dogs.
Owners would also have to notify animal control if the dog is moved to a new location, and all dangerous dogs would have to be sterilized.
Rep. John Lesch (DFL-St. Paul) proposed an amendment that would repeal a statute prohibiting municipalities from enacting ordinances to ban specific dog breeds. Lesch, who offered a similar provision in committee earlier this year, said that there is evidence that specific breeds cause more physical and emotional harm than other dogs, and that municipalities should have the ability to decide if and when these dogs are allowed in their communities.
Understanding the current opposition to the proposal, and the need for further discussion, Lesch withdrew his amendment. But, he said, the idea will not go away. “As long as kids continue to be mauled and killed, it will come back.”
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