Feb 20, 1989 Rockford To Consider Banning New Pit Bulls

Ordinance would be tougher than one adopted last month

Rockford - Some Rockford aldermen want to put more teeth into the dity's canine codes.

Just three weeks after the city council adopted the county's vicious dog ordinance, the city's Codes and Regulations Committee wants to pass a tougher law - one that would muzzle resident pit bulldogs and ban any new ones.

Ald. John Anderson, R-14th, said he pushed for a breed-specific ofinance because he wasn't happy with the coynty's watered-down version.  The proposal affects only about 1 percent of all registered dog owners in Rockford, he aded.

"I care more about people than I do dogs… and this dog was bred to kill," said Anderson.  He added that about 95 percent of all dog-bite deaths stem from pit bulldog attacks.

Ald. Leonard Jacobson, D-6th, said he opposes the plan because it unfairly singles out one breed of dog.  He added that the existing vicious dog law -- which passed Jan. 30 after almost two years of compromise and discussion -- is sufficient.

"I think we need to give this ordinance a chance to work," Jacobson said.  "There are biters in all breeds … the (existing) law addresses that."

Dog owner groups have complained that breed-specific laws hurt responsible dog owners and are the first step in outlawing all dogs.  The council previously rejected versions of the laws banning or regulating pit bulls.

The proposed ordinance, approved by the Codes and Regulations Committee and up for a vote before the full council Tuesday, requires that all owners buy a $25 license at City Hall for their purebred or mixed-breed pit bulldogs.

Rockford Register Star, Rockford, IL, February 20, 1989, p. 1