SD Bill Wants to Lift Pit Bull Ban; Law Would Prohibit Specific Breed Bans

Siouxland State Senator Dan Lederman is leading the charge to prevent cities from banning certain types of dogs.

And some local lawmakers aren't happy about it.
Siouxland News Reporter Beairshelle Edme explains what Thursday's panel vote means for South Dakotans.

It's been more than five years since Sioux City banned Pit Bulls from the community.

Other towns, including North Sioux City and Jefferson City, South Dakota, have done the same.

But now, the domino effect started by Sioux City could soon see an end in South Dakota.

"It (the bill) grants the authority, authorization to pass any ordinance they like, any ordinance that they would want on vicious animals, but it prohibits them from having breed specific bans," said Lederman (R- District 16).

Local officials told Siouxland News that the legislature has its nose in the wrong doghouse.

"I think the legislation is unfortunate in that it would not allow the City of North Sioux City to enforce our ordinances and I think in this situation due to our proximity to Sioux City and them having a ban I think that's a real disservice to our residents," said Kory Menken, human resources director for the City of North Sioux City.

"They are a vicious animal and we don't want to take any chance and this bill that they're trying to pass takes away our power for our own ordinance, which I don't think is even close to fair," echoed Mayor Joe Bogenreif, who also noted that Jefferson first took the lead back in 2003 when the pit bull debate first arose.

Despite the most recent vote, animal advocates say this bill revisits an important topic.

They say Pit Bulls, like all animals, deserve a place to call home.

But officials say the statistics don't lie.

Pit Bulls make up less than 10 percent of dogs in the nation, but figures show they're responsible for more than half of fatal dog attacks.

In the past decade, Pit Bulls, along with Rottweilers, Great Danes and German Sherpards, have been listed among the most fatal breeds.

Senator Dan Lederman disagrees.

"I think the real problem lies in improper handling and I think irresponsible owners should be targeted not a breed of dogs," he said.

The state senator says he hopes local officials will eventually embrace this bill and that dogs, like Pit Bulls, will be welcome anywhere they're well-cared for.

If you have a story you want to tell or an incident you think needs to be investigated, our reporter Beairshelle Edmé wants to hear about it. OR