Garland County, AR passes law targeting “high risk breeds”

The Garland County, Arkansas Quorum Court passed an ordinance on July 8, 2013 that regulates the ownership of what is being labeled “high risk” breeds.  According to the ordinance, these “high risk” breeds are “generically referred to as ‘gripper breeds,'” and include the American pit bull terrier, Staffordshire terrier, American Staffordshire terrier, Dogo Argentines (sic), Persa Canarios (sic), Can Corsos (sic) and any mixes of the aforementioned breeds.

The ordinance is expected to go into effect in three months, and does not apply to areas considered, or to the residents of, first class cities within Garland County.  All remaining areas of Garland County must comply with the ordinance.

You can find the ordinance in its entirety here.

It is, of course, always disappointing when a board of elected officials passes a breed specific law – especially when residents were engaged in the discussions and clearly opposed to it.  This instance, however, is particularly disheartening because of two key factors:

1. In September 2012, less than one year ago, the county formed a committee to discuss enacting a breed specific ordinance.  That committee concluded that breed specific legislation is not effective and the residents of Garland County would not be well served by it.  The county then formed a second committee which came to the opposite, apparently desired, conclusion; and

2. The language contained in the ordinance is very telling of the outside and biased influences used in crafting the law.

I am not posting the ordinance in its entirety here.  Instead, I encourage you to please visit the website where the ordinance is posted, and leave your informed and educated comments with respect to the lack of concern for the taxpayer dollars wasted on months of deliberation by committees and board members whose conclusion were ignored, the false sense of security this ordinance will give the residents affected by it, and the many failures and flaws of breed specific legislation.

In leaving your comments, please keep in mind that at least three other cities in Arkansas are currently considering BSL.  Think about what you write, how you present it, and its educational weight and value on those charged with making informed decisions on behalf of their constituents in the very near future.

Change in Garland County can now only come from residents, and I hope that their disappointment with their elected officials is reflected in the next elections, and that they are inspired to get this issue back before the Quorum Court.

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