New rules for Lincoln dog owners

The Lincoln City Council voted on Monday to make some changes when it comes to “man's best friend.”

The council has been working  the changes for more than half a year and there's some important things you'll see that were kept out of the legislation.

You aren't going to have to tighten your leash too much.  The city council made some adjustments to the dangerous dog ordinance, but this time around they made sure it's not the pups getting punished.

Council Chair John Spatz says, “the changes we made today don't hold the animal responsible.  They hold the owner responsible.

The major change from previous talk, is that you can still let your dog roam free in your yard without a leash and it won't be considered “at–large”.  That's as long as the dog is under your voice control.  At first, the council wanted to make it that your dog had to be either be restrained, behind a fence or in a pen; that was thrown out.

Spatz says, “we made the change that the dog that's in your yard with an underground fence will not be considered an 'at-large' dog.”

Another change, if an owner is convicted three times in three years of having a dangerous dog, like if it runs away or bites someone, that dog will be taken away and the owner can't own one for two years.

Something you won't see is an across the board ban on one type of dog.  Spatz says, “Breed specific doesn't solve the problem because there are far more bites and problems caused by lap dogs then there are by the huger dogs.  Clearly they don't do as much damage, but if your the person getting bitten, you don't really care what size the dog is.”

There is one amendment the council will take up next week; the health department really wants all dogs who's owners are convicted just one time to be micro–chipped, that way they can keep better track of the animal down the road.

That will be voted on next week.