OGDEN -- The city council will consider adding teeth later this month to Ogden's dangerous dog ordinance without specifically targeting pit bulls.
A council vote on amendments to the ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 25.
After more than a year of study, the city council has decided to beef up an existing ordinance with new, broader regulations for potentially dangerous canines instead of targeting a specific breed such as pit bulls, said Janene Eller-Smith, a council policy analyst.
"We are trying to be proactive (in protecting against potentially dangerous dogs)" she said.
Bob Geier, the city's former animal services manager, initially recommended to the city council last year that a proposed ordinance be adopted specifically targeting pit bulls because the breed made up a significant portion of the animal shelter's population.
However, that proposal drew complaints from canine associations and pit bull owners, who expressed concern the breed was being unfairly singled out.
City Council Chairwoman Caitlin K. Gochnour said the amendments are prudent. "After much careful thought, the council believes strengthening the dangerous dog language is more equitable (than breed specific legislation)," she said in an e-mail to the Standard-Examiner.
Hank Greenwood, president of the American Dog Breeders Association Inc. based in Salt Lake City, is pleased breed-specific language has been removed from the ordinance amendments.
"That's definitely the step they should take, addressing the dog's behavior rather than a breed," he said.
Melissa Lipani, an official with the Best Friends Animal Society in Kanab, agrees.
"We are pleased that any breed-specific language has been omitted, and we appreciate the opportunity that the council gave us to address them regarding the ordinance," she said in an e-mail.
Amendments to the ordinance define a potentially dangerous dog as those:
* Found running at large and impounded or whose owner has received citations two or more times within any 12-month period.
* Without provocation, acts in a highly aggressive manner within a fenced yard or enclosure.
* Has tried to attack a person or domestic animal if it is restrained by a leash, fence or other means.
Owners of potentially dangerous dogs would be required to register their canine as such and properly restrain the animal. The dog would also have to wear a specific colored collar and be implanted with microchip identification.
The owner would also have to present proof to the city of at least $50,000 in liability insurance to cover injury or damage caused by the dog.