The Jacksonville, Illinois city council heard a presentation from Morgan County Animal Control Administrator Jay Hudson during a council workshop session on Monday, March 24, 2014. (Mr. Hudson was referred to as a veterinarian in a previous article published in the Jacksonville Courier Journal related to Monday’s presentation.)
During his presentation, Mr. Hudson asked city officials to impose new rules for keeping records on any dog exhibiting violent behavior, and he also requested “pit bulls and pit bull mixed breeds” automatically be subject to those regulations.
About 125 people filled the meeting chamber as word spread through the community over the last week that a presentation targeting “pit bulls” was on the agenda. The majority of those in attendance were opposed to breed specific legislation.
Currently, any dog in Jacksonville that attacks other animals or a person has to go through a court proceeding to be declared a vicious dog, requiring a short-term quarantine and evaluation. Hudson is proposing changes to include registration, photographs, microchips, and proof of liability insurance be required of dogs that have been deemed vicious, and that pit bull-type dogs automatically fall under that designation and be subject to the new rules.
Hudson’s presentation was considered “purely information,” and no public input was taken afterward. However, Alderman Don Cook directed the Public Protection Committee take up the issue for further consideration.
Illinois state law prohibits cities and towns from enacting breed specific ordinances. Nevertheless, Jacksonville is a “home rule” city which means they could pass a breed discriminatory ordinance if they so choose.
Please reach out to the Jacksonville city officials with your polite and respectful opposition to the proposal to target pit bull-type dogs. Encourage the city officials to strengthen and aggressively enforce the city’s current dangerous dog ordinance and hold ALL dog owners accountable for the actions and behaviors of their pets, as well as implement and provide educational resources for responsible ownership to residents. You may also want to offer them suggestions for their consideration, such as the NAIA publication, “A Guide Constructing Successful, Pet Friendly ordinances.”
Finally, Morgan County residents please take note, Mr. Hudson plans to approach county officials with the same proposal. Residents will want to keep an eye on the agendas of both Jacksonville’s city council meetings, as well as upcoming Morgan County commissioners meetings, to monitor this situation.
Jacksonville Mayor and City Council
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City of Jacksonville Municipal Building
200 West Douglas
Jacksonville, IL 62650
Fax: (217) 479-0452