Don’t base laws on emotion

The DeKalb City Council did not reach an agreement Monday about strengthening laws for the owners of potentially dangerous dogs after an alderman brought his personal feelings into the discussion.

Third Ward Alderman William Hanna said he favored laws that would require the owners of pit bull terriers to carry $25,000 in liability insurance to cover any damages that dogs might cause.

Hanna’s main argument for the insurance policy was not supported by people in his ward, but rather by a personal experience he had in which he claimed to have been “attacked by a pair of pit bulls” near his home on April 7.

Sixth Ward Alderman Mike Neylon was right in responding to Hanna’s high cost insurance suggestion by saying it would be “banning a specific breed.”

A liability insurance requirement of that amount imposed only on owners of pit bull terriers is not a logical request. It is unfair to require owners of well-trained and friendly dogs to purchase an unreasonable amount of insurance based solely on the breed of dog they own.

When presenting his argument at the city council meeting, Hanna was not expressing the feelings of the people in his ward, which is what he was elected to do. Instead, Hanna made a dramatic case and wasted the council’s time with his personal feelings and views on pit bull terriers.

First Ward Alderman Christine Hoagland best responded to Hanna’s argument when she said a vicious dog cannot be determined by its breed but it “depends on how the dog is brought up.”

The council plans to hold a special meeting to determine what type of controls should be placed on the owners of vicious dogs. Hopefully, when making their decision, the council will keep in mind Hanna’s real reasons for pushing the restrictions.