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Alderman John Strasser said the local overpopulation of pit bulls is putting stress on the Dane County Humane Society and the city's animal services officers.
"We’re not doing any kind of restriction on ownership. It’s simply on the breeding and to keep the breeding levels down. We’re requiring all non-show dogs be spayed or neutered,” Strasser said.
Patrick Comfert works with Animal Services for Public Health Madison and Dane County. He said for the last six to seven years they’ve seen a steady climb in pit bull overpopulation problems, and more than 50 percent that end up in shelters don’t make it out.
“We’re seeing a large number of dogs show up as stray or abandoned,” Comfert said. “A lot of our neglect cases come from pit bulls.”
Comfert said if it were any other breed they would offer the same solution. He has seen puppies as young as 5 weeks old being given away, the normal time for a puppy to stay with parents is ten weeks.
“They’re not getting socialized. They’re not getting the things they need because they’re being bred to make money,” Comfert said.
If the ordinance goes through, the penalty for violators could start at $250 and go up to $1,000.
Comfert said he hopes an ordinance will help put an end to any grief for the dog or future owners.
More than half of the dogs euthanized at the humane society from 2010 to 2012 were pit bulls.
The ordinance does allow for specific exceptions for documented show dogs or service dogs. Enforcement would be on a complaint basis.
A release from the Dane County Humane Society said the DCHS believes the proposed ordinance must balance societal needs with the interests of the animals, and that they do not favor breed-specific legislation.
"We welcome the opportunity to be more involved in assisting the city of Madison and Dane County in its regulatory efforts on this issue, and will look to other organizations that have studied the issue of mandatory spay/neuter programs," DCHS Public Relations Coordinator Gayle Viney said in the release.
The proposal is scheduled to go before the city council Tuesday. It will be studied by a couple of committees and, if supported, it could be in effect by March.
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