Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on the outcome of the city council meeting in Springfield, TN last night. On the agenda was a second vote to amend the current “pit bull” ordinance to add a $50.00 registration fee. Springfield enacted its breed specific law in 2001 in response to “several pit bull attacks.” The city only has dog bite reports going back to 2003, so its difficult to judge if that is, indeed, the reason why it was enacted. Regardless, the amendment for the registration fee would be retroactive, and dog owners who were already in compliance with the law, would have been obligated to yet an additional expense.
Only one alderman was vocal about his position on the pit bull ordinance, stating it was necessary for public safety. In the meantime, Emily McFadden, the Springfield resident opposing the city’s proposed ordinance, had bite statistics from 2003 to the present that proved otherwise. More than one alderman felt adding an additional regulation and expense to the current law was too cumbersome. There was little support for the amendment, and the vote was deferred. In my opinion, based on the lack of support and comments in general, I think its an issue that will not come back up again. Of course, as they say, it ain’t over till its over.
More importantly, the board as a whole agreed the entire animal control ordinance currently in place is not working for them, and they expressed an interest in starting from scratch and crafting an ordinance tailored to the city and its needs. We are quite optimistic, based on comments made during discussions with the aldermen after the meeting, that any such ordinance will be breed-neutral. We provided alternate ordinances for their consideration, as well as many suggestions.
I want to thank everyone who came out on such a nasty night to show their opposition to BSL. The meeting room was completely full! I also want to acknowledge Emily McFadden for taking a stand in what she believed in and tackling this issue head on. She did a lot of leg-work, including outreach to city officials, and tons of research. Her presentation was respectful, to the point, well reasoned and intelligent. The aldermen were all very impressed with her, as was I.
Emily will stay on top of things, and she will certainly let us know what progress is being made toward the goal of a BSL-free Springfield!