UPDATE: DCHS CALL TO ACTION
Update 9/4/2013--Breed Discriminatory Language is removed from the Watertown dog ordinance by a vote of 6 - 3!
Thank you to everyone that came to the meetings and spoke out against BSL. And a HUGE thank you to those who respectfully voiced your opinions, thoughts and feelings to the Watertown Aldermen. There is still more work to be done, but this was a huge positive step!
The City of Watertown has been discussing the implementation of a breed-discriminatory ordinance for some time. Although progress has been made in educating alderpersons on why an ordinance targeting a particular breed is bad policy, we haven’t swayed them entirely. At present, the proposed ordinance still contains language mandating that any pit bull terrier dog be deemed a “high risk dog,” which subjects the dog’s guardian to burdensome, costly and exceedingly discriminatory regulations.
Please help speak up and tell Watertown alderpersons that breed discrimination is wrong and makes the community more vulnerable to truly dangerous dogs while, at the same time, punishing responsible dog owners and innocent dogs. Breed-discriminatory ordinances also waste taxpayer dollars and infringe on constitutional property rights.
We urge you to take action by contacting the mayor and the alderpersons immediately. We have an example draft email below that you are welcome to use or you can also email/mail your own personalized letter. To be persuasive in getting your message across, please be sure to use a polite tone in all communications. The facts speak best: Breed discrimination makes communities less safe, costs taxpayers greatly, infringes on property rights, and punishes responsible citizens.
Emily McFarland* -
Ken Berg* -
James Romlein* -
John Coughlin* -
Fred Smith -
Mark Kuehl – 261-0358, 303 S. Eighth St, Watertown, 53094
Steve Zgonc -
Augie Tietz -
Robert Stocks -
Mayor John David -
*Voted AGAINST Breed Specific Legislation- please thank them and ask for their continued support!
The Watertown City Council will have their final vote on September 3 - it is very important for us to voice our opinions now!
Breed Discrimination Doesn't Work - Enact Effective Policy Instead
Dear Watertown Alderperson:
Laws that ban specific breeds do not prevent or stop harm or damage caused by companion animals. Owners and guardians of all breeds have the ultimate responsibility for any harm or damage that their pets do to people, property or other animals.
Watertown officials should protect people and pets by passing and enforcing laws that emphasize personal responsibility and individual accountability. When it comes to dangerous dogs, the focus should be on reckless or negligent owners, not the breed of the dog.
Besides being ineffective at improving public safety, the proposed breed-discriminatory ordinance interferes with a responsible dog owner's property rights. It places extreme regulations on any dog that even resembles a pit bull terrier, so that any short-haired, muscular dog is at risk. As a result, good citizens will feel forced to move out of Watertown and others may abandon any thought of moving to Watertown.
Breed discrimination doesn't improve public safety. According to studies done in countries (e.g., the United Kingdom, Spain and Germany) that had breed-discriminatory laws, this type of legislation didn't reduce the number of dog bites.
Breed-discriminatory measures are costly to enforce. If the proposed ban is challenged in the courts, the city holds the burden of proof. This means taxpayers will foot the bill for DNA tests (the only way to identify a dog’s heritage with absolute certainty) and the cost of kenneling the dog as the case makes its way through the court system.
Please abandon your breed-discriminatory ordinance and replace it with a comprehensive, breed-neutral ordinance targeting the behavior of the individual dog and the owner. Prevent reckless or problem pet owners from owning any pet, as Highland Park and Skokie, Illinois, have done.
Thank you for your efforts to update and improve the ordinance to enhance public safety, save tax dollars and preserve citizens' property rights.