South Heart resident plans to petition city council lift ban on Doberman Pinschers
SOUTH HEART--When Troy Edin bought his puppy around 14 months ago, he had no idea that there was a possibility the dog could one day be taken away from him simply because he's a Doberman Pinscher.
SOUTH HEART-When Troy Edin bought his puppy around 14 months ago, he had no idea that there was a possibility the dog could one day be taken away from him simply because he's a Doberman Pinscher.
Now, Edin is trying to show the South Heart City Council that it's the owner, not the type of breed that determines whether or not a dog is vicious.
"We need to make it more on the owners and less on what type of dog people bring in because it's not working," Edin said.
South Heart has three dog breeds that are prohibited in city limits-Dobermans, Rottweilers and pitbulls. Chuck Andrus, a member of the South Heart City Council, said the three-breed ban has been in place for at least the past 12 years and added that it is in place to keep South Heart residents safe.
Andrus said many cities, both in North Dakota and across the country, have similar breed bans, but many are also in the process of repealing those bans.
"It's not an unusual ordinance," Andrus said. "These are passed by most cities in North Dakota."
Edin moved to South Heart two years ago and works for Whiting Petroleum Corp. He said when he bought his house there, he didn't own any dogs and didn't have any immediate plans to get any, so he didn't look at the animal ordinances there.
It wasn't until June when he was walking Jiggy, his Doberman Pinscher, and their new black lab, Nala, when Edin said someone had apparently called authorities to notify them that someone was walking around town with a Doberman.
He said they were stopped by a K-9 officer who informed them of the ban, but let them on their way after doing an aggression test with the dog the officer deemed to be "friendly."
He said they were later informed by police that they would have to get rid of the Doberman by the end of December.
So, Edin started a petition to have the Doberman removed from the prohibited breed list and will present that petition to the South Heart City Council. He said he originally had a petition to just have Jiggy be allowed in the city, but he was encouraged to instead to try and get the entire Doberman breed off of the list.
Edin has attended many city council meetings since the June incident to discuss the matter with local officials.
Andrus said city officials are doing their best to work with Edin on a solution that would be good for both the city and Edin, but he wants pet owners to remember that they are responsible for their dogs and that if a dog should bite someone, the owner will be held accountable for what happened.
"The general public has the right to walk the street and not be afraid of animal," Andrus said. "... It's unfortunate that it's come to this, but we as a city council are looking at the situation and we're going to try and work this out as best we can for both Mr. Edin and the rest of the town."
Edin said he has done extensive research on breed-specific legislation and said that most reputable sources, like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say breed-specific legislation laws do not work and do not actually solve any problems when it comes to aggressive dogs.
Edin added that in the time city officials were looking at his case, a German Shepherd had tried to attack someone and a Blue Tick Hound bit someone in South Heart.
"So instead of going after the actual problem, they're going after someone because they have this type of dog," Edin said. "It's kind of counterproductive."
Dickinson does not have any breed prohibitions in place at this time and hasn't since 2007, when the Dickinson City Commission repealed its pit bull ban.
Dickinson City Administrator Shawn Kessel said the city now has a "vicious" animal ordinance, which looks at the individual dog and its behavior, rather than the entire breed.
"I think having a vicious dog ordinance is actually better than having a breed ban because not all dogs in a certain breed may be violent or vicious," Kessel said.
Edin believes it all comes down to the owner and the way the owner raises a dog that determines whether or a not a dog will be aggressive. He said even though a dog might bark at someone, it probably either wants to play or it's just being protective. He thinks it's important to learn more about dogs in order to understand why they do what they do.
"You've got to give dogs three things: love, exercise and discipline," he said. "We do that with both of our dogs and they aren't aggressive to anyone."
He said if things go well on Tuesday and the Doberman breed ban is lifted, it will give an opportunity for the two other breeds to be lifted from the list as well. But if things should not go the way he hopes, Edin would most likely give the dog to his father and then consider moving away from South Heart in order to be able to keep his dog.
"I wouldn't really want to live somewhere without my dog," Edin said. "He's like family to me."