Residents in the city of Etowah, Tennessee, have been forced to take a crash course in how to stop a proposed pit bull ban in their city, and so far, they are getting an A+ for their efforts.
Last month, the Etowah city council passed the first reading of an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of pit bulls in the city limits. At the same time, the council voted to reduce the number of required readings to vote on the ordinance from three to two. This means that at the next meeting on Monday, October 22, the ordinance could be passed.
Since the ordinance was proposed, a grassroots effort comprised of concerned dog owners who want to prevent the ban from being passed, has made impressive strides in bringing awareness to their cause. More importantly, they are providing good, solid solutions and offering their assistance to help alleviate the problems associated with irresponsible dog ownership in their community. To be clear, the city of Etowah does not have a “pit bull problem,” it has a problem with irresponsible dog owners, and those problems are not limited to owners of one breed of dog.
With every news interview, and there have been many, those against the ban have not only laid out a plan of what the city can do to improve the lives of all the members of the community – humans and animals alike – but they are also providing a plan on how to achieve those improvements. Strict enforcement of the current laws; holding owners responsible for the actions of their dogs, regardless of breed, when they violate the law; and educational classes on responsible dog ownership are all components of that plan. They aren’t just talking the talk either. They are putting action behind those words, offering their services and assistance at no charge to the city to make the plan work.
The bottom line is, dogs are a product of their environment and upbringing. “Problem dogs” are the result of “problem dog owners.” Dog ownership is a responsibility, and those who do not take that responsibility seriously should be penalized. Moreover, a dog’s appearance is an inappropriate and flawed manner in which to ascertain the threat a dog poses to the community. A more reasonable and accurate method to identify a dangerous dog is by its behavior, not its breed. The pit bull ordinance currently being considered by the city penalizes ALL pit bull owners while allowing owners of dogs who do pose a real threat to the community to be let off the hook. This is the message the residents of Etowah are relaying to their city officials…and its a message that is grounded in concern not just for their dogs, but for the welfare and safety of all the members of their community.
Residents in Etowah are to be commended for the campaign they have put together to stop the proposed breed specific ordinance from being passed, and the time to find out if those efforts will pay off is drawing near. The second reading of the ordinance is set to take place at the council meeting on Monday, October 22, 2012. Meetings take place at City Hall, 723 Ohio Avenue, and begin at 6:30 (EST). Please make every effort to attend this very important meeting to show your support for the people fighting so hard to prevent its passage. A good showing at the meeting will send a very strong message to the city council.
Please join us.