City officials in Jasper, Alabama have been going back and forth with an animal control ordinance over the past few months. The issue initially came up in May when the mayor proposed a breed ban that would include “pit bulls,” dobermans, rottweilers, chow chows, including mixes of and/or dogs that have the appearance of these breeds. The mayor eventually advised the city would not pursue a breed specific ordinance in June, and a committee was later formed to study vicious dog ordinances.
It appears now that a breed specific ordinance is still a potential option in Jasper as the committee recently heard from a city councilman of nearby Fayette, AL regarding the “success” of his city’s pit bull ban. It is not clear whether any potential ordinance would regulate the ownership of several breeds as initially planned, or if the target of a new ordinance would be specific to “pit bulls.”
A recommendation from the committee is expected to be received at the city council meeting this morning (August 2, 2011) at 10:00 a.m. All council meetings are held at the Jasper City Hall Council Chambers, 400 West 19 th Street, Jasper, AL. In addition, the committee appointed by the mayor to review vicious dog ordinances will be meeting on Thursday, August 4, 2011 at 6:00 p.m. at city hall to get public input.
Accordingly, please take the opportunity this morning to send your POLITE, RESPECTFUL and INFORMATIVE letters in opposition to any type of breed specific ordinance in Jasper, and encourage city officials to pursue a breed-neutral vicious 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.
Committee hears of Fayette pitbull ban
by Daniel Gaddy Daily Mountain Eagle
A group assigned to study vicious dog ordinances for Jasper recently heard about legislation passed in Fayette that prohibits any new pit bulls within the city.
Mike Hardin, a Fayette City Council member, told the committee he is not a lobbyist for pit bull bans, but said the leadership in his city is satisfied with the ordinance they passed in 2009.
“We just all felt that this was something we needed to do,” he said. “It was something worthy of taking a chance on.”
After months of public debate over an ordinance concerning vicious breeds, the city council earlier this month appointed a committee to study the issue and make a recommendation for a Jasper law.
Jasper Mayor Sonny Posey said the council chose the members of the committee in a manner that would include each side of the debate. Committee members Jerry Kitchens and Bill Blazer, for example, have spoken of the inherent dangers of pit bull breeds at several public hearings in Jasper. The group also includes members such as local veterinarian David Cain and Susie Vann, who is on the Walker County Humane Society board of directors.
Fayette’s City Council passed its ban on all new pit bulls in May of 2009. Hardin, who was Fayette’s police chief from 1994 to 1999, said the measure came about a few months after a pit bull viciously attacked a local woman.
Hardin showed pictures of the victim after the attack. The woman received dog bites on her head, arm, torso and leg. One photograph showed chunks of flesh missing from the woman’s calf.
Kitchens also showed several pictures of children mauled by pit bulls — with one set as a desktop background to the computer used during the presentation.
Hardin said the dog in the Fayette incident had been involved in two attacks already, and the owner had been ordered to keep the animal in his home at all times. According to the Tuscaloosa News, the owner also had several pit bull dogs confiscated from his home prior to the 2009 attack.
Fayette’s 2009 ordinance included a grandfather clause that allowed residents to keep their pit bulls if they owned the animals before the law passed. However,the legislation required the owners to have $100,000 of insurance on the dog, two photos of the animal and to register their pit bull with the Fayette Police Department.
Hardin said most of the council members would have voted to ban the breed immediately, but they did not want to put undue burdens on the owners and wanted the ordinance “to pass constitutional muster.” Though it would be more lenient than many pit bull ordinances, Hardin said Fayette’s law was less likely to be challenged in court.
Fayette’s ordinance is similar to laws passed in Irondale and Brookside. At least 11 cities in Alabama, including Gardendale and Fultondale, have legislation specific to pit bull breeds.
Hardin said that, prior to the pit bull ban, the City of Fayette, like many municipalities, had vicious dog laws that only allowed law enforcement to deal with animals after an attack.
Hardin said the city council did receive opposition to the ordinance, much of it from animal rights groups, when considering the pit bull ban. However, most of the protests came from outside the city, and for every one person opposed to it, there were 10 supporting the ordinance, he said.
“We are proud we did it,” Hardin said.
Posey said he and the council look forward to receiving a recommendation from the committee, which he expects will be given during the council’s meeting scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 2.