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Bellevue city council introduces ordinance requiring muzzles for "bully breeds"

Thomas Burns says it will prevent future attacks
Posted at 6:48 PM, Apr 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 19:50:43-04

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — Bellevue City Council Ward 1 representative, Thomas Burns has introduced an ordinance that would require "bully breeds" of dogs to be leashed and muzzled when out in public.

Burns introduced the ordinance after a Ward 1 resident had to euthanize her dog following an incident. American pitbull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and Staffordshire bull terriers are all considered bully breeds.

Veterinary technician Lindsey Harden says those types of dogs have been bred to have tenacious tendencies, but they aren't the only ones who possess that.

"It’s not just bully-type breeds, it’s a lot of dog breeds that have that tendency to be tenacious, a great example of that would be a dachshund," Harden said. "As a technician, I very very rarely had aggression from a pitbull but there were lots of other breeds I would very frequently be leery of going into a room to grab them because they were a lot more likely to show me aggression."

Burns said even though smaller dogs can bite and attack as well, it's about the severity of the attack.

"We’re also looking at the severity of how much damage a dog can do I think it’s good to just have a preventative measure that’s taking precaution so we don’t have an attack or to prevent an attack on someone else dog or potentially a child," Burns said.

Harden agrees that all dogs should be leashed, for the safety of people, other dogs and the dogs themselves. She doesn't agree with the muzzle requirement though.

"I think it’s a tool that can be used to modify behavior for specific dogs that need that tool. I don’t think it’s something that should be used across the board, partly because it’s not a healthy thing to teach the dog to have to be muzzled all the time," Harden said.

Under the ordinance, a dog owner can register their pet under the breed ambassador program to opt-out of the requirements. Bellevue's ordinance was modeled after Omaha's breed-specific requirements.

The public hearing will be held on April 20.

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