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NEW INFORMATION: City leaders vote not to ban pit bulls in Chippewa Falls

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU)--City leaders in Chippewa Falls have voted not to put a ban on pit bulls in the city.

Mayor Greg Hoffman says the city decided it needs to address all problems with vicious dogs, not just pit bulls.

In early April, a home owner spoke before the council telling the story of how two pit bulls killed her cat.

Hoffman says the city has some recommendations for stricter penalties for people who don't keep their dogs on a leash or have their dogs escape. He says the recommendations will go to the city's Committee 3, who will discuss it more in May.

For now, Hoffman says police who are called to dog incidents will require the owner to show a license for the pet, or face possible fines.

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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) -- Ely was a super sweet cat," said Jillian Wollmer.

The picture of Ely is one of the only visual memories that remain of him. Last Friday, Wollmer says two pit bulls showed up at her home and went after Ely.

"They killed my cat right in the grass there," she said.

It was an emotional weekend for the family, having lost a pet, and knowing her 21-month-old son could have easily been outside playing, too.

"You just immediately think what if that would have been our son or the neighbor's children," she said.

But pit bulls are not just a sensitive subject with those who live nearby, but insurance companies as well.

Gregg Bohlig, a State Farm Insurance agent, says his company paid out $109 million dollars in claims for dog bites in 2012. But he says State Farm does not discriminate by breed, instead using history as the deciding factor to insure.

"If they have a history of biting or aggressive behavior, we will part ways and we won't be doing insurance with them," Bohlig said.

Over at Farmers Insurance, they have a similar policy.

"If we are aware of an animal that has a bite history, they have to be excluded from the policy, so if there's any future bites that would not be covered," said Paul Boatman, a Farmers Insurance agent.

American Family Insurance had the most restrictive policy of the three insurance companies we talked with.

The company's media director, Ken Muth, told us by phone not only do they ban pit bulls, but a small list of other dogs too, such as rottweilers and wolf hybrids.

He said if someone wants insurance owns this type of dog, American Family Insurance will help them find another insurance company.

Wollmer says she sees both sides of the debate, but just hopes no matter the dog, safety is always first.

"People love their animals, they love whatever breed it is, but that affinity for their animals should never precede human safety," she added.


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