South Milwaukee no longer bans pit bulls. Instead, we are treating all dogs equally under our tough, but fair, vicious dog ordinance.
The City Council voted to remove the pit bull ban, in place since the 1990s, last week. I support the change, and the rationale for making the decision.
There are a number of reasons why this is a good decision.
First, our Health Department doesn’t have the resources — specifically, people and time — to properly enforce the current ban. And even if they did, there is no definitive, scientific way to even tell a dog is a pit bull.
So how can we enforce this fairly?
Studies have also shown no single dog breed bites more than another. And the costs of breed bans for agencies like the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission — where 45% of the dogs they bring in each year are either pit bull or pit mixes, something I saw first-hand on a tour of the county taxpayer-funded facility last year — are real. Because of this, the Humane Society shows South Milwaukee is not alone in moving away from these breed-specific bans, and some states have even moved to prevent communities from enacting such bans.
Still, I would not support removing South Milwaukee’s ban, but for this: Our vicious dog ordinance has and continues to put strong regulations on the owners of vicious dogs, of all breeds, and delivers real punishments on those dogs and their owners. We will continue to diligently enforce it.
A vicious dog is a vicious dog. The revised ordinance keeps our community safe, and doesn’t discriminate.
Check out the ordinance here. Search “vicious dog.”