Bridgeville Considers Changing "Dangerous Dog" Code - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Bridgeville Follows State Legislation on Dangerous Dogs

Posted: 11/13/2017 18:46:00 -05:00 Updated:

UPDATED: The town of Bridgeville unanimously passed changes to their town code that addresses breed-specific criteria.  The town is updating their ordinance to match what the state of Delaware passed in April. 

ORIGINAL: The town of Bridgeville may soon change how they define a dog as dangerous.

Currently, town code states that dogs with proven aggressive behavior and Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers and dogs with the appearance and characteristics of the aforementioned breeds are considered dangerous, and therefore subject to different town rules. For example, no one under the age of 21 may walk a dangerous dog through town and dangerous dogs may not be kept on porches, patios or any part of a house the dog could exit on its own volition. 

At Monday night's meeting, the Bridgeville town commissioners are set to hold a public hearing and possibly vote on an ordinance that would change town code by taking away the breed specific qualifiers. The draft ordinance states that instead, the Board of Animal Control and/or the State of Delaware Office of Animal Welfare would deem a dog dangerous solely by its behavior. Some animal advocates say this change would help reduce the stigma against pit bulls.

"It's long overdue. It's great for us and great for dogs in need in Delaware," says Brandywine Valley SPCA Georgetown Shelter Manager Chris Farrell. "It breaks down the barrier of adoption...at this point if someone calls Bridgeville home, they may not be able to adopt a great dog from us or from wherever just based on its physical appearance."

Monday night's move comes after House Bill 13 passed in April, which makes "dangerous dogs" laws more consistent and clarifies that solely breed-specific criteria may not define a dog as potentially dangerous. Some in the Bridgeville area told WBOC they understand why the town originally put in the current code, but ultimately place responsibility on dogs' owners.

"We do hear stories where the bull just goes or a dog will be walking by and the natural instinct of the dog is to attack," says Jon DiMuro. "Personally I think it's more or less the supervising of the dog and how the dog is handled."

The Bridgeville Commissioner's possible decision comes after a public hearing on the ordinance. If approved, it will go into effect immediately.

Bridgeville's Commissioner Meeting starts at 7 p.m. at Bridgeville Town Hall.

 

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