A representative of the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas approached the Monticello city council and requested the city ban or regulate pit bulls. Judy Barton, who is described as the “leader” of the Humane Society, advised the council that her group “knew where the problems were, and would be willing to work with the city to let them know about pit bull owners,” indicating any such ordinance would be selectively enforced. The officials instructed the city attorney to address the council regarding research on banning or regulating pit bulls, and have a proposal ready to present at the next council meeting.
In the video-taped recording of the city council meeting, several issues should be noted:
1. Councilwoman Hudson stated she has long wanted to ban pit bulls, but she acknowledges the city does not have the resources to enforce such a law;
2. Councilwoman Sherry Gillespi brings up what she considers to be “vicious breeds,” including rottweilers and dobermans;
3. The problems apparently stem around a particular area in the city, and the Humane Society indicates they know exactly who the problem dog owners are;
4. Ms. Barton alleges there are 400-500 “pit bulls” in a city of less than 9,500
5. Ms. Barton indicated the Humane Society, a non-profit organization, would hire and pay for someone to help enforce the breed specific law.
The city attorney presented information he found the day of the council meeting regarding various cities in Arkansas that have breed specific ordinances. One particular ordinance related to 8 specific breeds considered “pit bulls,” with the breed apparently being identified by a vet. The city attorney also acknowledged the cities with these ordinances have the resources to enforce them.
The Humane Society claims to know who the problem dog owners are and where they live. Despite this, instead of focusing their efforts on educating and strictly enforcing the current laws, they are advocating for a law that penalizes responsible dog owners for no other reason than the type of dog they own. In addition, the Humane Society, a non-profit organization, has offered to use their own funds to help enforce the law.
Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to BSL to the Monticello city officials. The council would benefit from points found in the NAIA publication, “A Guide to Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.” The guide has some excellent points that would address the problems experienced in Monticello.
You can also provide the city with an estimate of how much a breed specific ordinance would cost the tax payers of Monticello by using the Best Friends Fiscal Impact Calculator.
Talking points and alternatives to breed specific legislation can be found here.
This issue will be back before the council at their next meeting, tentatively set for January 24, 2013. Contact information for the individual city officials is not available, but you may direct your correspondence to the city clerk via e-mail or fax, with a polite request to forward on to each official.
City of Monticello
203 W Gaines St
Monticello, AR 71655
Phone: (870) 367-4400
Fax: (870) 367-4405