The mayor of Jasper, Alabama has proposed a breed ban that would include “pit bulls,” dobermans, rottweilers, chow chowss, including mixes of and/or dogs that have the appearance of these breeds.
The council may take the first vote on the ordinance during the next council meeting on June 7, 2011. Please send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE letters in opposition to the mayor and city council to encourage them to pursue a breed-neutral dog ordinance.
Contact info for mayor and city council:
City of Jasper, Alabama
P. O. Box 1589
Jasper, Alabama 35502-1589
Jasper City Hall
400 West 19th Street
Jasper, Alabama 35501
City Hall, firstname.lastname@example.org
*Individual e-mail addresses are not available for the council members. Correspondence can be sent to the City Hall e-mali address with a polite request to forward to each city council member.
Council examines ordinance to collar city’s pet problem
by David Lazenby Daily Mountain Eagle
1 day 21 hrs ago | 1297 views | 0
Jasper City Council members on Tuesday heard the first reading of an ordinance to regulate the breeds of dogs that may be possessed on residential property within the city limits.
Breeds that may be banned in the city include pit bull terriers, Doberman pinschers, rottweilers and chows — types of dogs many consider to be among the most dangerous.
The proposed ordinance introduced to the Jasper officials on Tuesday by city attorney Russ Robertson was requested by Mayor Sonny Posey.
According to the ordinance, the existence of a problem was recently brought to city officials attention through “numerous citizen complaints.”
“We just feel like it’s time to take control of the situation,” Posey said. “We feel like for the sake of the number of people involved, we don’t have any choice.”
The Jasper City Council could vote on the suggested ordinance as early as June 7, the date of the Council’s next regularly scheduled meeting.
Robertson pointed out that the ordinance, as it stands now, does not have a “grandfather clause” that would allow current owners of the embattled breeds of dogs to keep their animals.
He added that the purpose of an ordinance’s first reading is to allow city officials to get feedback from area constituents before they vote on an issue.
Lisa Lockhart, the owner of a three pit bulls she trains to compete in the sport of weight pulling for the Walker County Pull Team, said she is concerned about how the ordinance will affect her.
“We hope there is some sort of compromise reached so that we, as responsible dog owners … are not affected — so that we can continue to host our pulls and shows and continue to raise money for local charities like we have done in years past,” said Lockhart, the owner of Lisa’s Twisted Whiskers, a Jasper business specializing in grooming, boarding and training dogs.
The proposed ordinance states that the prohibition against the banned breeds “shall not apply to a licensed breeding facility, animal hospital, veterinarian’s clinic, pet grooming shop or business for the boarding of animals.”
Posey pointed out that “Kennels are not allowed in residential neighborhoods, but they are allowed in certain sections of the city.”
Robertson said this is not the first time city officials have considered an ordinance regarding pet dogs in city limits.
“We’ve been looking at — from time-to-time — dog nuisances (ordinances) since 2004,” Robertson said. “The issue of specific breeds of dogs — that’s been addressed ever since the city started doing it.”
Robertson added that in 2006 Jasper City councilors considered a barking ordinance. “The Council decided not to go with that, but they talked about it,” he said.
Posey said it was determined that a barking ordinance would be “almost impossible” to enforce.”
Robertson added that other cities in the states have issued bans on some breeds in recent years.
“Usually pit bulls,” Robertson said. “I think the most recent one around here was Gardendale.
On Jan. 18. the Gardendale City Council passed an ordinance regarding vicious dog. The ordinance was reportedly prompted by a request that pit bulls be banned in the Gardendale city limits made by Shay Nichols, whose dog was allegedly killed by two pit bulls.
The North Jefferson News reported that the decision by Gardendale officials caused howls from pit bull owners who spoke out against the measure at subsequent Council meetings and gathered signatures on a petition to overturn the ordinance.
Robertson said he does not know of a specific situation that prompted Posey’s interest in the ordinance. He also said the new ordinance is more “stringent” than past proposals considered by Jasper officials.
Currently, Robertson said there is little restrictions on dogs in Jasper “until one is declared vicious.”
“In order to be declared, it must have bitten, or without provocation bite or fiercely attack a person or other animal. Once a dog is declared vicious, we have pretty good procedures,” Robertson said.
Robertson added that until a dog is declared vicious, the city’s leash law is the only control the city maintains in regard to dogs.
Along with a proposed ban on the purebred dogs is a prohibition on “any mixed breed of dog, which contains as an element of its breeding” the breeds of dogs that may be banned in Jasper.
However, Robertson said mixed breed dogs would only be outlawed if they “look enough like” the breeds that may be banned.
Posey said the move is not something that city officials relish. However, he said the matter needs to be addressed.
“There are too many children at risk,” Posey said.
Read more: Daily Mountain Eagle – Council examines ordinance to collar city’s pet problem being examined