The city council of Maumelle, Arkansas heard the first reading of an ordinance that would, among other things, repeal the city’s ban on pit bull-type dogs at their meeting on Monday, February 3.
The ordinance was originally proposed by Councilman Chad Gardner in 2019. In the words of Councilman Gardner, this ordinance would, “End discrimination against dogs based on appearance…animal control won’t go out looking for dogs based on breed or appearance…it treats all dogs equally.”
Despite it not being passed in 2019, it became quite the campaign issue during the last elections. While most of the council members acknowledged the great majority of Maumelle residents they encountered during their campaigning wanted the ban lifted, Councilman Steve Mosley stated that his constituents were “horrified” by the thought of lifting the ban. He stated unequivocally that he was a definite no vote.
Councilwoman Terry Williams was very enthusiastic about the ordinance, stating that the issue was brought up two years ago, the council has done their due diligence, and this matter is in no way being rushed. She also encouraged the public to make their voices heard on this.
The council members discussed making the issue a ballot initiative, but with the election two years away, that idea didn’t seem realistic.
Finally, after everyone made their arguments, including a young breed advocate who made a presentation to the council, Councilman Mosely piped up again, stating that the arguments/defenses presented didn’t apply in this case. He stated, “Dogs don’t have constitutional rights – they’re animals.”
You are correct, Mr. Mosely, but when an animal control law is violated, who gets the citation? Who gets to show up in court? Who gets the fine? Is it the dog? No. Animal control laws target (and in this case, discriminate against) animal owners, and what do you know…animal owners do have constitutional rights.
At any rate, the second reading on Ordinance 1022 will be in on February 16, 2021, with a final vote on March 1, 2021.
The council wants to hear from you, so please let them know you fully support lifting the city’s ban on “pit bulls.”
You can send notes/letters of support to the City Clerk, Ms. Tina Timmons, with a polite request to forward a copy to each of the city council members.
If you live in or around Maumelle, please make an effort to attend the next two meetings in a show of support. Very few people attend city council meetings, so the more people, the bigger the impact. Meetings begin at 6:00 p.m. and are held at City Hall Council Chambers, 550 Edgewood Drive, Suite 590, Maumelle, AR 72113.
As always, a lot is riding on this, so please be polite, respectful, and informative in all your communications with officials.
If you’re not sure where to start, we have a ton of letter writing tips and a sample letter to follow, as well.