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 Elgin, Il updated: BSL passes first vote

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Join date : 2010-02-08

PostSubject: Elgin, Il updated: BSL passes first vote   Wed Mar 03, 2010 6:37 pm


Elgin, IL update: BSL passes first vote

Posted on February 25, 2010 by Stop BSL

The final vote on the proposed ordinance will be March 10. The last vote by city council will likely be a formality, unless someone changes their mind.
Please continue to send persuasive, intelligent correspondence to council members, and please remember to thank the three council members who voted against the ordinance (noted below).

City of Elgin, Illinois
Diane Robertson, City Clerk
150 Dexter Ct., 2nd Floor, Elgin, IL 60120-5570
Phone: 847-931-5660
Fax: 847-931-6027
Edward Schock, Mayor, mayor@cityofelgin.org (For the ordinance, owns a German Shepherd)
Council Members:
Richard Dunne, rdunne@cityofelgin.org (Against the ordinance)
Robert Gilliam, gilliam_r@cityofelgin.org (For the ordinance)
David Kaptain, kaptain_d@cityofelgin.org (Against the ordinance)
John Prigge, prigge_j@cityofelgin.org (Original proposer of ordinance, voted for it)
F. John Steffen, steffen_j@cityofelgin.org (Against the ordinance)
Mike Warren, warren_m@cityofelgin.org (For the ordinance)

Previous alerts for Elgin: http://stopbsl.com/?s=elgin%2C+il

Pit bull crackdown ‘like racism against dogs’

Elgin council advances tough restrictions on pit bulls

February 25, 2010
By MIKE DANAHEY mdanahey@stmedianetwork.com

By a 4-3 vote, the Elgin City Council Wednesday night approved moving along an amended animal control ordinance that puts tough restrictions on owners of pit bulls, which would be labeled “dangerous dogs.”

At a committee of the whole session held at The Centre to accommodate an audience of more than 100 people, Councilmen Dave Kaptain, John Steffen and Rich Dunne had wanted to table the item, asking staff to look into several issues. But Mayor Ed Schock and Councilmen Robert Gilliam, Mike Warren and John Prigge brought the matter to a vote to move the matter along to an upcoming city council agenda. The same four voted for the changes as written — with Prigge calling the issue a proactive measure and a safety issue for the city — while the other three men voted against them.

The amended ordinance would put strict requirements on pit bull owners, and those not following the new rules would face fines of $1,000 or more. It calls for the owners to:

• buy three-year licenses for their dogs at a cost of $100;

• put an identifying microchip in the dogs;

• and have homeowner’s or renter’s liability insurance coverage.

Pit bulls would have to be spayed or neutered and would be required to undergo obedience classes.

The dogs also would have to be kept in fenced-in yards when outside — with the fence at least 6 feet high and the gate locked — and on non-retractable leads and muzzled when taken for walks. Only people age 18 or older would be allowed to take pit bulls for strolls.

The same rules would apply to any dog that a hearing officer or court deemed to be dangerous (pit bulls automatically would be classified as such) or vicious (a dog that attacks unprovoked). Vicious dogs would not be allowed to be taken for walks on Elgin streets. Owners of dangerous and/or vicious dogs would have to put signs up by their residences warning others about their pets.

And people bringing their pit bulls through town would need a transportation certificate from Elgin’s Police Department to do so.

Kaptain, Dunne and Steffen wanted more information from staff about how the sign and fence rules would work in light of neighborhood covenants and zoning laws. They also wanted to reconsider muzzling dangerous dogs and the transporting aspect. And they asked for more about the cost of compliance.

To that end, after the vote Laurie Faith Gibson-Aiello, a northeast-side resident and pit bull owner, said she had researched the “dangerous” label and found that it might mean she would no longer be able to get homeowners insurance. However, Corporate Counsel William Cogley claimed his research indicated the label would not disallow coverage.

Cogley gave an overview of the amended ordinance prior to the council allowing 30 minutes of comment from the public. The consensus among those speaking was that while they agreed with most of its language, most speaking objected to how it singles out pit bulls.

“This is like racism against dogs,” east side resident Ray Slover said.

“Gangs and drug dealers who mistreat the dogs — those are the ones you should be going after, but we the responsible owners are the ones who will be paying the price,” Dianne Ziegler said.

On Tuesday, Anderson Animal Shelter Executive Sandy Shelby said the nonprofit “understands the need to control and protect, but the breed-specific requirement claiming that all pit bulls are dangerous is a false statement.” Shelby said that such labeling will scare some people and could lead to more relinquishing and abandoning of dogs.

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