Bismarck News

Emotional Mandan City Commission Meeting Discusses Vicious Dog Ordinance

A mother and daughter attacked by two pit bulls a couple weeks back spurred a conversation in Mandan.

Mandan already has a vicious dog ordinance, but tonight the City Commission revisited it to discuss changes in light of recent events. 

Commissioner Dennis Rohr says, "The thing that I've seen over the many years that brings people to a commission meeting more than anything are dogs."

It took over an hour for each attendee to stand and share for a minute.

Haley Sampsill and her husband Michael came to talk about their pit bull, Chip.

Sampsill explains, "Our dogs are our life. They're like our children, just like many other people view dogs as their children or as their sibling."

The discussion was an emotional one.

One Mandan resident exclaimed, "If you're not going to pass an ordinance to outlaw these breeds, have them put up a ten foot fence that's locked."

Wesley Geiger, whose daughter and daughter's mother were attacked just a couple weeks ago, shared pictures of his daughter Faith's wounds.

The existing ordinance bans vicious dogs. A vicious dog is defined as a dog that attacks without provocation or has a vicious terrorizing manner.

Rohr adds, "By virtue of the ordinance the dog can be ordered to be put out of town and not be brought back, or the dog could be ordered to be euthanized as well."

New ideas from commission members and residents included: amended leash laws, mandatory yard signs, licensing of dogs and of course, breed specific legislation.

Sampsill explains, "Anyone I've met that has met our dogs or any other dog that's on the supposed aggressive dog breed list, doesn't think they're aggressive. There are no bad, aggressive dogs. There are dogs that are taught to be aggressive."

After close to an hour and a half discussion, the commission tabled the issue for further research.

Ultimately the goal is to prevent future attacks.

Mayor Helbing says, "You can write anything on paper but it's up to the dog owners to be responsible."

The commission has a lot to think about in the weeks to come.


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