Under a new ordinance in St. Paul, Minnesota, dog owners who have had one or more dogs removed by animal control officers in separate incidents in a five-year span will no longer be allowed to own a licensed dog in the city.
The St. Paul City Council unanimously passed the ordinance April 25. Although the city has been the scene of several recent dog bite incidents – most recently on April 23 when two terriers attacked a 59-year-old woman – the Council said the new law wasn’t a response to the incidents.
Instead, city officials say, the measure targets owners who train dogs to fight, puppy mill operators and pet owners shown to be irresponsible or negligent. Council members said the law is actually meant to address complaints that when the city removes an abused dog, or one that’s been trained to fight, the owner just buys a new one.
Under the new ordinance, problem dog owners can’t register a new animal if their dogs are removed twice in five years. However, owners can appeal a license denial.
Under current city law, all dogs more than three months old must be licensed.