Pit Bulls Now 'High Risk,' Not 'Vicious,' Says New Law
Pit bulls are no longer automatically "vicious" dogs in Des Moines, Iowa - instead, they're "high risk."
"The breed-specific language really took on a life of its own and that was never the original intent," said Councilwoman Chris Hensley, according to the Des Moines Register.
On Monday while the council was reviewing changes to the dog ordinance, Hensley said she was "not interested in changing the breed-specific language."
The new ordinance toughens laws aimed at owners whose pets have behaved aggressively or inappropriately - and does a very slightly better job labeling pit bulls, but still requires owners of "high risk" dogs to have liability insurance.
Animal advocates would like to see Des Moines' animal control laws be completely breed-neutral. According to the Des Moines Register, Tom Colvin of the Animal Rescue League of Iowa wrote in an email to the city council, "We strongly urge you to remove the breed-specific language in the ordinance that focuses on a dog's appearance so we can instead redirect those efforts to focus on a dog's behaviors and pet-owner responsibility."