Local rescue group seeks to change dog adoption ordinance
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The leaders of a local animal rescue group, Save A Pet – Copperas Cove, are seeking community support to petition the Copperas Cove city council to change a city ordinance that currently bans certain breeds of dogs from being adopted.
Those breeds include Rottweilers, chows, pit bulls or mixes of those breeds. Currently, only 501c(3) rescues are allowed by city ordinance to take those dogs from the shelter and adopt them out on their own.
So far, the petition on Change.Org – which is addressed to Mayor Frank Seffrood – has nearly 1,500 “signatures,” but that isn’t enough for petitioners Brittany Weimert and Deborah Price.
“We will take to the streets next week to get hard signatures from Cove residents only,” said Brittany Weimert, who is also an animal rescue advocate who fosters dogs regularly.
“Copperas Cove has some of the best Animal Control Officers you will find. They are allowed to make the tough calls on other individual animals that might come in aggressive but have no say in ‘dangerous’ breeds,” Weimert wrote as part of the petition. ”This is not just an insult to the many breed advocates out there but a direct insult to our ACOs (Animal Control Officers). The city is indirectly telling them they are not qualified to distinguish if a dog has good temperament if it’s one of those breeds. The Fort Hood area has a ton of good people willing to adopt these breeds but they aren’t being given the chance by the city.”
Weimert and Price say that Copperas Cove is the only city in this area that has this type of policy.
Weimert also said that their board is preparing a proposal and they do have plans to address the city council in person, in the future.
As far as dangerous animal orders issued by Animal Control, Deputy Chief of Police Brian Wyers provided the numbers for 2015-2018.
In 2015, a total of 10 dangerous orders were issued, with all 10 of those animals being restricted adoption breeds. In 2016, there were 13 dangerous orders issued, with five of those animals of restricted adoption breeds and eight being all other breeds. For 2017, 12 dangerous orders were issued, with eight of the animals restricted adoption breeds and four being all other breeds.
For 2018 to date, a total of six dangerous orders have been issued, with five of those animals being restricted adoption breeds.
The City of Copperas Cove also tracks incidents with animals, and in 2017, there were 123 incident reports, with 106 in 2016, 88 in 2015, and 107 in 2014. According to Animal Control’s annual report, incident reports are always filed for animal attacks and bites, as well as cat scratches, when there is a potential for rabies. Reports are also taken for public nuisances, cruelty to animals, and other cases deemed necessary by the Animal Control Officers. The reports don’t identify which breeds of dogs were involved in such incidents.