Council lifts breed ban

Pit bulls allowed back in city limits

Pit bulls will no longer be automatically excluded or restricted within Minot’s city limits with the repeal of an ordinance by the Minot City Council Monday.

Council members heard from residents on both sides of the issue before voting 4-3 to lift the ban. The vote was the same as first reading two weeks ago.

Minot resident Kim Albert cited national statistics to support an argument that pit bulls are dangerous dogs. 

“Any website you search will identify pit bulls as the most dangerous dog in this country. There is no intelligent reason to bring pit bulls back into this community,” he said. “It is not to the betterment of this community. It is certainly putting more people at risk.”

Cameon Eisenzimmer, who uses a service dog often mistaken for a pit bull, advocated for the breed because of characteristics that make them good in the type of service she needs. City regulations have required that pit bulls used as service dogs be muzzled and leashed outside the home.

Those rules make it difficult for the dogs to do their jobs, Eisenzimmer said.

“You are limiting me to where I can take my service dog, limiting his tasks and discriminating against me and my disability,” she said. “I have rights and I have a right to have a service dog that is able to perform all of its tasks, not just those stipulated by an ordinance.

“You may believe that it’s just a dog and that it can’t be discriminated against,” she told the council, “but I’m here to tell you that there are individuals behind those dogs. There are individuals whose independence, self confidence, the will to wake up every morning and mental health depend on those dogs.”

Alicia Moody, a resident who said she had been injured by pit bull, also said family members have owned gentle pit bull dogs.

“If we’re going to put limits on what you can have in this city based on fear, then we have a really long way to go because pit bulls aren’t the only thing that’s feared. So we have to figure out where we are going to draw the line,” Moody said.

Council member Lisa Olson was not persuaded by the arguments.

“I love dogs. I’m a dog owner, but I don’t feel safe having pit bulls within our community,” she said.

“If we’re going to err on this, I would much rather err on the side of safety and less risk for the citizens,” council member Mark Jantzer added.

Council member Stephan Podrygula said the ordinance may not provide a large cushion of extra safety but it provides some.

“These are sweet, nice, lovable dogs until they aren’t. And when they aren’t, that’s where the concern comes in on my part,” he said.

Council member Carrie Evans reiterated her argument that the city’s ordinance against dangerous dogs is more effective than a pit bull ordinance.

“Therefore, the time has come to repeal the ineffective, vague and inhumane law targeting the appearance of a dog versus the behavior of a dog,” she said.

Council member Paul Pitner responded the owner may matter more than the dog breed.

“I trust the citizens to utilize the dangerous dog ordinance that we have and I think it will be effective,” he said.

Mayor Tom Ross and Roscoe Streyle joined Evans and Pitner in voting to lift the ban.

Evans had noted at a previous meeting that Fargo, Bismarck and Grand Forks, the state’s largest cities, do not have breed-specific ordinances.


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