The small town of Dover, Arkansas is considering an ordinance that would regulate the ownership of pit bull-type dogs within the city limits. The first reading of the ordinance was held at the regular city council meeting on July 2, 2013. At that time, the Aldermen voted to hold the ordinance for 30 days, and will take the second and possibly final vote at the next meeting on Tuesday, August 6, 2013 at 6:00 p.m.
If passed, the ordinance will take effect immediately.
The proposed ordinance would place strict regulations on all dogs considered to be “pit bulls” and would prohibit any new pit bulls from living in the city. The ordinance specifically states it is applicable to “any dog that has been registered as a pit bull, referred to as such, or that is defined or identified as a dog belonging to any of the pit bull dog breeds,” and includes the following:
• American Pit Bull Terrier
• Staffordshire Bull Terrier
• American Staffordshire Bull Terrier
• American Bull Dog.
In order to maintain ownership or “handling rights” to any pit bull, owners must be at least 21 years of age, provide documentation that the animal was licensed prior to the ordinance being passed, provide proof that the dog has received a rabies vaccination, and at his or her own expense, have the dog spayed or neutered, and shall present documented proof from a licensed veterinarian that the sterilization was performed.
In addition, the ordinance states that “pit bulls” must be kept within an enclosure, and the dogs should never be allowed outside of said enclosure without being held on a leash and under the control of the owner. Owners must also display a sign which states “beware of dog” on their property, as well as a similar sign near the kennel or confining area.
The Dover animal control officer will assign a registration number to each dog, and that number is required to be tattooed on the abdomen near the upper inside of the right rear leg.
Failure to comply with the ordinance will result in the immediate seizure of the pit bull and revocation of the right to a license to own said dog. It will be regarded as a misdemeanor, punishable with a fine no less than $150 and no more than $500.
An exemption in the ordinance allows owners to keep pit bulls within the city limits. The exemption will be effective if the owner can provide documented and physical proof that the dog is registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC) as a show or performance dog. Obviously, this would mean there is no exemption for the American Pit Bull Terrier.
To prove that a dog is an AKC registered show dog, the required documentation must include:
• An AKC registration
• AKC three-generation pedigree
• Proof of the dog being used as a show dog once the dog reaches the age of 6
• The first five numbers of the AKC registration tattooed on the abdomen on the upper side of the left rear leg.
Current pit bull owners will have 30 days after the ordinance is passed to register the dog with the city clerk.
Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Dover city officials, as well as viable alternatives and suggestions for their consideration. We recommend providing a copy of the NAIA publication, “A Guide to Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.” The guide has some excellent points that would help strengthen and improve the city’s current ordinance.
Talking points and alternatives to breed specific legislation can be found here.
Individual contact information for the city aldermen is not available, but you may send your correspondence via the City Treasurer/Recorder, Regina Kilgore, with a polite request to forward on to each aldermen.
Mayor Patrick Johnson
City of Dover
8904 Market Street
Dover, AR 72837