When the city approved new regulations on potentially dangerous animals in 2008, it stipulated that owners needed to pay $200 as part of the process to remove the label on the animal's record.
"Now that we actually have people wanting to get their dogs off the list, we don't see any need for that $200 fee," said Mark Langan of the Nebraska Humane Society.
Langan testified Tuesday before the City Council to support a proposal that would automatically drop an offending animal's "potentially dangerous" tag if the pet does not violate city provisions for two years after being labeled as such. The Humane Society would check its records to ensure that the animal has had no problems, then inform owners of the change.
Currently, pet owners who want the designation removed from their animals' records after two years must pay $200 and present evidence to an animal control official that the animal's behavior has changed. That places additional hardship on owners of potentially dangerous animals required by law to purchase microchip identification, liability insurance and pet ownership classes for the animal, Langan said.
"It's a no-brainer to remove that fee," Langan said. "These ordinances are working very well."
Under current city ordinances, animals can qualify as potentially dangerous if they make unprovoked attacks that inflict injuries to humans that don't require medical treatment, injure a domestic animal or chase or approach people "in a menacing fashion or apparent attitude of attack" on public property.
Animals with "a known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack when unprovoked" or threaten the safety of humans and domestic animals also qualify.
Those regulations wouldn't change under the proposal, nor would the city's extensive regulations on dangerous animals. Animals declared potentially dangerous would still be elevated to dangerous status if they bite a human without provocation.
A vote on the proposal is scheduled for Feb. 7.
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