City begins talk about dog regulations - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

City begins talk about dog regulations

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Every year, thousands of people show up in U.S. hospitals to be treated for dog bites.

Half of those victims are kids with most bites occurring in the face.

Those facts were handed out at tonight's Sioux Falls city informational meeting.

Tuesday night was a very brief beginning of the Land Use Committee's talk about things like dog bites, laws and fines, dog registration, and insurance coverage.

Early on, there is already growing concern and support for this discussion between the city, dogs and their owners.

"In relation to certain events, there's some concern amongst dog owners that there's going to be a banning of specific breeds or discussion of regulating different breeds," Jeni McNamara said.

Jeni owns two pit bulls at home. Dog owner Kevin Kunkel agrees saying it's less about the dog's breed and more about its owner.

"Any dog can bite. Any dog can attack. A certain breed being more prone, I don't know about that. It has a lot to do with how you raise and socialize your dog," Kevin Kunkel said.

He knows all too well because his dog Jake is a mix of two breeds often perceived as the most dangerous.

"He's a rotweiller and German Shepard. He's the happiest, most gentle, wouldn't harm anything or anyone. All he wants to do is play and lick and have fun," Kunkel said.

That's why he says the city shouldn't go to extremes like banning a certain breed.

"It's like punishing everyone for one person's bad behavior. If they want to punish the dog owner, absolutely. If Jake got out and attacked a kid, I should be held responsible. But not everyone who has a German Shepard Rotweiller should have to pay the price," Kunkel said.

The city is taking an in-depth look at everything from defining what is a vicious dog and fines for those who disobey the law.

"If we have irresponsible pet owners, that's what it comes down to. We want to make sure we have pet owners who are responsible for their pets, their animals, so we don't have dogs running around attacking people," Dean Karsky said.

Members of the committee will re-visit this on July 30. They have invited the Sioux Falls Animal Control and the Sioux Falls Humane Society to share in the discussion.

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