People moving to Omaha with a dog that another city deemed “dangerous” should note a quiet tweak to a city ordinance.
The Omaha City Council, in a 7-0 vote without discussion, on Tuesday broadened the city’s dangerous dog ordinance to prohibit any dog deemed “dangerous” in another jurisdiction from registering and living in Omaha.
The new ordinance, like the one it’s replacing, outlaws registering animals authorities elsewhere have determined are “dangerous, potentially dangerous, vicious, a nuisance, or a threat to the health or safety of human beings.”
But the council closed a legal loophole that, before the change, recognized danger designations only from cities that labeled the dogs using a judicial process — a court proceeding — as Omaha does.
Many cities use an administrative process to decide whether individual dogs are a nuisance or threat to human health, animal control officials said. The process takes place outside of the court system.
Nebraska Humane Society officials sought the change, worried that the owner of a dog that mauled someone might move to Omaha and register. No event spurred the push, said Pam Wiese, a Humane Society spokeswoman.
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“We’ve seen people wanting to bring their dogs in, and people thought, ‘Wow, before this becomes a problem, we better do something,’ ” she said.
No one testified in opposition to the change.
Omaha’s dangerous dog ordinance was adopted in 2008 after a pit bull attacked a toddler and the child’s mother in South Omaha. Under the ordinance, dogs deemed “dangerous” are labeled for life. A judge can order them destroyed.
The city has labeled a dozen dogs in Omaha dangerous since 2014, including five so far this year.
The law contains a range of labels for dogs that have run-ins with other dogs or people.
Owners with dogs the law labels “potentially dangerous” can earn their way off the list if the pets and owners enroll in classes, the dogs get microchipped for tracking and dog owners add insurance.
The new law takes effect in October.