Doyle, Tennessee considering ban on “pit bulls”

At their April board meeting, officials in Doyle, Tennessee proposed a ban on “pit bull” type dogs.  The issue was brought up by Mayor Ray Spivey following a recent incident allegedly involving a “pit bull” attacking livestock and chasing a resident of Doyle. The dog was tethered in a resident’s yard, and broke free from the tether.

According to the article published on, the Board unanimously decided to review the breed specific ordinance of their neighbor, Sparta, TN.  They will continue discussions on this issue during next month’s Board meeting on May 1, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  

Doyle is an extremely small town in White County, with a population of approximately 600 people. The town does not have an animal control officer, and will depend upon the services of the small, financially strapped White County animal shelter.  The one animal control officer serves the entire county consisting of close to 400 square miles.

It is my understanding that Doyle does have a significant problem with dogs running at large. Interestingly, scant few citations are issued for this or any animal control issues.  If you’re not writing citations, you’re not discouraging irresponsible ownership.  Dog ownership is a responsibility, and individual dog owners — not entire communities — need to be held accountable when they fail to live up to those responsibilities. Community safety is achieved by strictly enforcing animal control laws that are already in place, not passing laws that single out dogs based on appearance, and that reckless and negligent dog owners have already proven to hold with little to no regard.

As noted above, the Board will be reviewing Sparta’s ordinance targeting “pit bulls,” which the ordinance defines as “bull terriers, American pit bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers, mixes of the aforementioned breeds, and any dog that has the appearance and characteristics of a ‘pit bull’ as defined above.”

Accordingly, please take a moment to send a polite, respectful and informative letter in opposition to breed specific legislation to the Doyle officials. Encourage them to strictly enforce the existing animal control ordinance and start giving out citations for violations.  Point out the costs to tax payers and the added stress to precious animal control resources, as well as the difficulty in identifying a “pit bull,” and the liability that falls on the city when a dog is misidentified as a “pit bull.”  Let them know that breed specific ordinances infringe on the property rights of dog owners; and stress to them that responsible ownership is key.  In a town of this size, educating the public on responsible dog ownership can be easily accomplished and would best serve all members of the community – people and animals alike.

Talking points to support these arguments for your letters can be found here.

Individual e-mail contact information is not available for the Board members, but you may send your letters, via the city clerk, to with a polite request to forward a copy to the Mayor and each member of the Board.

Again, the Board will be discussing this issue on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  Doyle residents may address the Board, and will need to call the town clerk to add their names on the meeting agenda.  We need your support and we need a BIG crowd to show up.  You don’t have to live in Doyle or White County and you don’t have to address the Board — you just need to be opposed to breed specific legislation.

Town of Doyle
104 Doyle Circle Drive
Doyle, TN 38559
Phone:  (931) 657-2459

Finally, I encourage ALL White County residents to call Doyle town hall and let them know you do not support this proposal. Why?  Because if this ordinance passes, YOUR taxes will be funding it, and YOUR resources will be drained.  The funding for the White County’s animal shelter is already limited, and passing an ordinance like this takes the focus (and funding) away from routine, effective enforcement of animal control laws that have the best chance of making a REAL difference in the community.

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