Bluefield, W.Va: Second reading set for pit bull ban

Earlier this week, the Bluefield, West Virginia Board of Directors approved the first reading of an ordinance that would ban new pit bulls from the city limits. The proposed ordinance takes the city’s existing ordinance, passed in 2008, a step further by essentially banning the breed from the city limits. The first reading of the amended ordinance passed on a 3-0 vote, with the mayor and one board member being absent.

The ordinance is scheduled for a second reading at the board meeting on April 23, 2013 at 6:00 p.m. at city hall.

The proposed ordinance would give existing owners of pit bulls 10 days after its enactment to have their animals registered at the Bluefield Police Department. After that 10-day period, no new pit bulls would be permitted in the city limits.

The city’s current ordinance requires pit bulls to be kept indoors or in a locked, enclosed pen or kennel with a secured top attached to all sides. The dogs must also be muzzled and on a secure leash when they are taken out of their home, and they must be registered with the Bluefield Police Department.

The board’s motion to set the proposed ordinance for a second reading was challenged by Blaine Braithwaite, a concerned citizen. Mr. Braithwaite advised that had spoken with three attorneys, and he was advised that a public hearing must be held before the board can take action on the proposed ordinance. Mr. Braithwaite urged the board members to schedule a public hearing before voting on a second reading.

Citizens who have thoughts, concerns or opinions on the amended pit bull ordinance should  attend the April 23 meeting.

The ordinance will become law if it is approved as a second reading.

Please continue to send your polite, respectful and informative correspondence to the Bluefield officials below:

City of Bluefield
200 Rogers St
Bluefield, WV 24701
(304) 327-2401

Mayor Linda Whalen

Director Mary Frances Brammer

Director Deb Sarver

Director Pete Sternloff

Director Tom Blevins

Previous alerts for Bluefield, W.Va

Proposed Ordinance


WHEREAS, Chapter 8, Article 12, of the West Virginia Code grants West Virginia Municipalities the authority to pass Ordinances to promote the safety of its citizens and to prevent risk of harm to its citizens; and

WHEREAS, dangerous animals, specifically described in Article II, Section 4-39 (3) and (4) of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Bluefield, and typically referred to as pit bull dogs, and wolf-hybrids, are aggressive by nature, have a propensity to attack without provocation, and have been found to represent a public health and safety hazard; and

WHEREAS, the ownership, maintenance, and control of dogs and/or other animals within the City of Bluefield is a local concern, which is rationally related to the City’s legitimate interests, and which is a proper exercise of its police powers granted by the West Virginia Legislature; and

WHEREAS, for the reasons set forth above, it is the desire of the Board of Directors of the City of Bluefield to amend Section 4-39 and enact subsections 4-39(5), 4-51(1), and 4-51(2) of the Code of Ordinances of the City of Bluefield; and

WHEREAS, the duly elected governing authority of the City of Bluefield is the Board of Directors thereof.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the City of Bluefield hereby adopts the amendment of Section 4-39 and the enactment of subsections 4-39(5), 4-51(1), and 4-51(2) as follows, effective April 23, 2013:

Sec. 4-39. Definitions.
Dangerous animal means and includes the following:
(1) (This subsection shall remain unchanged.).
(2) (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(3) (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(4) (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)

The owner of any animal described in subsections (3) and (4) of this definition shall register such animal with the city police department. within ten days of the enactment of the ordinance from which this definition is derived or within ten days of bringing any such animal within the city limits.

(5) The owner of any animal described in subsections (3) and (4) of this section who has registered such animal with the city police department as required above, within ten (10) days of the effective date of Section 4-51(1), and who is in compliance with the proper and adequate safeguards to protect the public health, safety, and welfare described in Section 4-51, subsections (a), (b), (c), and (d), may keep such dog(s) within the confines of the City. However, this exemption shall not apply to such animal(s) acquired subsequent to passage of Section 4-51(1), or to animals found by the municipal court to be in violation of Section 4-51 (a) through (d). Nothing in this section shall prevent an owner of a “service animal”, as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), from owning and keeping such service animal in the City.

Section 4-51. Pit bulldog, wolf-hybrid regulations.
(1) Except as provided for in Section 4-39(5) of this Article, no person shall own, keep, or harbor a pit bull dog, as defined in Section 4-39(3), or any wolf species as defined in Section 4-39(4), within the corporate limits of the City.
(2) This section is a necessary control to eliminate the risk of attack by dangerous animals on human beings and on other animals in the City, which have become a threat to the health, safety, and welfare of the public; and the lack of knowledge or lack of intent to injure is eliminated as a defense to any violation thereof.
(a) Leash and muzzle. (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(b) Confinement. (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(c) Confinement indoors. (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(d) Signs. (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)
(e) Penalty. (This subsection shall remain unchanged.)


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