In May, we alerted you to the plan of the Albany, Georgia city commissioners to convene a Citizens Advisory Committee in order to discuss a new dangerous dog ordinance. Commissioner Roger Marietta proposed adding an element to the city’s current ordinance that puts restrictions specifically on owners of pit bull-type dogs. While no incidents have occurred in Albany, and despite the acknowledgment that the current ordinance categorizes an animal as “dangerous” by its behavior and actions, Marietta cites “news reports involving ‘pit bulls’ from across the country” as his motive to regulate the breed in Albany. In addition, at the time this was brought up in May, and before the Citizens Advisory Committee was convened, the city attorney was already working on an updated ordinance that would, among other things, require pit bull owners to register their animals, provide specific enclosures for them and require the owner to maintain insurance or a surety bond.
The Citizens Advisory Committee, made up of members selected by the Albany City Commission, met on July 15, 2013. Wes Smith, the assistant city manager, said “pit bulls” in particular, seem to be the “problem breed” in Dougherty County and nationwide.
One of the ideas brought up that the committee members seemed to agree on was mandatory registration for all dogs in the community. The committee members believe registration would make it easier for animal control officers to catch the owners who aren’t responsibly taking care of their dogs.
Despite the breed-neutral suggestions, however, the committee requested information on how a potential dangerous dog ordinance could restrict pit bulls.
The committee did not make any decisions at yesterday’s meeting and, instead, agreed to do more research. The committee remains divided on the issue, most standing somewhere in the middle. Some committee members want to pursue an ordinance that applies to dangerous dogs, regardless of breed, and others want to pursue an ordinance that targets “pit bulls.”
The committee hopes to present city commissioners with their final report and recommendations in the next month.
In the meantime, please continue to send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Albany officials listed below. Please also provide city officials with viable alternatives and suggestions for their consideration. We recommend sending the city officials the NAIA publication, “A Guide to Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.” The guide has some excellent points that would help lay the groundwork for an ordinance that will address the problems in the city.
Talking points and alternatives to breed specific legislation can be found here.
City Manager James Taylor
222 Pine Avenue
Albany, GA 31702-0447
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Agendas and Minutes can be found here.
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