Passed in 1987, Chapter 6.32 of the Devils Lake municipal code states that “it is unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the city any pit bull dog.”

Passed in 1987, Chapter 6.32 of the Devils Lake municipal code states that “it is unlawful to keep, harbor, own or in any way possess within the corporate limits of the city any pit bull dog.”

That chapter of the code may soon be eliminated.

The City Commission met Monday, and among the items discussed was the pit bull ordinance. Amanda McDonough, a teacher at Tate Topa Middle School, addressed the commission in an effort to have the ban lifted.

“I’m asking that the city trusts their own constituents with responsible pet ownership,” McDonough said. “Any dog has the potential to be dangerous, it has little to do with breed. You’re actually giving people a false sense of security.”

Among the organizations that oppose breed-specific legislation are the ASPCA and the Centers for Disease Control. The APSCA states that “there is no evidence that breed-specific laws make communities safer for people or companion animals.”

The CDC says that difficulty in identifying dog breeds, especially mixed-breed dogs, inaccuracy of dog bite data, among other factors, make breed-specific laws ineffective.

Several commissioners seemed open to eliminating the breed-specific ban, as did police chief Keith Schroeder.

“If we have a mechanism in place in the ordinance to make sure that the general public is safe regarding any breed of dog, it doesn’t matter to me whether we have an ordinance indicating one specific type,” Schroeder said. “We need to make sure the public is safe. It doesn’t matter what the breed of dog is.”

It seems that the city does have a mechanism in place in the code, specifically in Chapter 6.08.01, which covers “dangerous animals.”

The code states that “it shall be unlawful for any person to own, keep, or harbor a dangerous animal within the city limits” and provides steps for dealing with animals that have been deemed dangerous, as well as their owners.

City attorney Tom Traynor said that the ordinance may not need to be changed, as it may be sufficient to simply eliminate Chapter 6.32 concerning the pit bull ban.

Residents will have a chance to voice their opinions on the proposed lifting of the pit bull ban in the coming weeks as the commission discusses the matter further.