The subject of breed bans has been a hot topic in Mississippi in the last few weeks. As usual, most of the “debate” seems to be generated by the media in order to garner a response from the public and generally stir up an always controversial subject.
However, in one area, the issue of banning “pit bulls” has been formally proposed. In our post of April 3, 2014, we advised that the sheriff of Holmes County planned to seek a ban on pit bulls after a fatal mauling in Thornton, an unincorporated community located in Holmes County. At the Board of Supervisors meeting last week, he did just that.
I spoke with the county administrator who confirmed the Board of Supervisors was indeed considering making changes to the current animal control laws. She advised officials were doing their due diligence to determine whether they want to pursue a generic vicious dog ordinance or an ordinance targeting specific breeds of dogs. She also advised that since all options were on the table, county officials welcomed input and information from residents as to the development of any new law.
During our discussion, Ms. Joiner and I addressed the issue of irresponsible dog ownership, and agreed on the significant role problem owners play with respect to dangerous and/or problematic dogs in the community.
Residents of Holmes County have an opportunity to work with their elected officials in crafting an ordinance that will work to enhance the safety and welfare of ALL who live in the community, both people and animals. Please encourage your county representatives to pursue a vicious dog ordinance that deems dogs dangerous based on their behavior and actions while holding irresponsible owners who allow or encourage their dogs to create problems and/or cause harm accountable for the actions of their dogs. Please also encourage educational programs for children, and incentives that would encourage responsible ownership.
Please keep in mind that Holmes County has the third lowest per capita income in the state of Mississippi, and the 41st lowest in the United States, which means funding for the enforcement of any animal control ordinance and associated programs will be extremely small. In that respect, citizens who offer their time and efforts to help develop and carry out educational programs, such as dog bite prevention or obedience training, would really go a long way and make a big impact in the community. Working together, you can make an incredibly positive impact on the people and the animals who live in Holmes County.
E-mail contact information is not available for the individual county supervisors, but you may send your polite and respectful letters and suggestions encouraging the county to focus on problem dog owners rather than specific breeds to the county administrator via an online form found here or to firstname.lastname@example.org with a request to forward to each supervisor.
Holmes County, Mississippi
P. O. Box 239
408 Court Square
Lexington, MS 39095
(662) 834-0911 (Office)
(662) 834-3345 (Fax)