City officials in Dardanelle, Arkansas heard the first reading of an ordinance that would ban “pit bull breeds” in the city limits at their last meeting on Tuesday, September 6.
I spoke with the city clerk this morning, and confirmed that the Aldermen did pass the first reading of the ordinance. According to the clerk, three readings are required in order for the proposal to become law. The second reading will be held on October 7, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.
Residents Dr. Corry and Justin Key addressed the council and spoke against the ban at Tuesday’s meeting. The Keys own and operate Southwind Animal Hospital, and they own and show American Bullies.
Dr. Key offered subjective information about bully breeds that she has encountered over the years in her veterinary practice, as well as general information including American Temperament Test Society scores and the failures of breed specific ordinances in other cities. In addition, the Keys suggested the city address their animal control issues by implementing a spay/neuter ordinance, a comprehensive vicious dogs ordinance that would apply to aggressive dogs of all breeds, and an anti-tethering ordinance that would prohibit or limit the amount of time a dog can be tied out.
Dardanelle Police Chief Sims said law enforcement has “increasingly seen vicious dogs, especially pit bulls, in drug houses, making the job of his officers more difficult.”
Rather than target the root of the problem, the city is attempting to control the criminal element by targeting and punishing all owners of a specific breed of dog – the good and the bad.
Scott Moore, the chair of the Code Enforcement Committee, which referred the ordinance to the full council, said since the city of Russellville banned pit bulls in 2006, pit bull owners have come across the river to Dardanelle. He went on to advise that a ban was necessary because “people walking down the street…and the pit bull being like on a chain right beside the sidewalk and growling and barking and trying to get to the children and stuff.”
Again, alternatives can be crafted to target specific tethering criteria and/or anti-tethering provisions that will (1) enhance community safety and (2) not group all dog owners together, thus forcing responsible dog owners to give up their family companions.
Please send your polite, respectful and informative opposition to breed specific legislation to the Dardanelle 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.
Mayor Carolyn McGee
City Council (block copy & paste e-mail)
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