Rogersville, TN: Residents ask city to repeal 30-year-old “pit bull” ordinance

This is a follow-up to our post from last month regarding the 30-year-old “pit bull” ban in Rogersville, TN.

Several pit bull owners attended the May 8, 2018 Rogersville Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) meeting to ask the city to lift a pit bull ban that has been in effect since 1982.

The law, which has not been enforced for decades, and which, apparently, many residents were not aware of, was brought to the public’s attention last month via a news article announcing  upcoming changes to the city’s animal control ordinance.  One of the changes was to the section addressing “pit bulldogs.”  The revised ordinance states, among other things, a dog falls under the classification of “pit bull” if a vet confirms animal control’s designation that it is at least 50 percent pit bull.  (Good luck with that.)

One of the residents in attendance at the meeting advised the Board that when notice of the new ordinance was publicized last month, her landlord notified her that “if the ban passes,” she would be required to remove her dogs or move.  (Due to the misleading wording of the article in the Rogersville Review last month, many people thought a “pit bull ban” was a completely new section of the revised ordinance.)  As noted above, while the ban has been on the books for decades, it hasn’t been enforced.

After residents addressed the aldermen, they were advised that in order to repeal the pit bull ban, an alderman would have to introduce a new ordinance at a later meeting.

The second reading of the revised animal control ordinance was approved 6-0…as is.

The city is required to have one more reading on the proposed ordinance and, if approved, residents may have lost their best opportunity to repeal the section of the ordinance targeting “pit bulls.”  Yes, a resident can request the issue be revisited and put on the agenda at any time, but animal control is on the agenda NOW and, if I understand correctly, an alderman could simply revise the ordinance currently before the Board, and exclude the language regarding “pit bulls.”

Residents of Rogersville, PLEASE reach out to your city officials and ask them to (re)introduce the new ordinance with the breed specific language removed.  Talking points and additional information can be found in our previous post regarding Rogersville.

The Board will next meet on Tuesday, June 12, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.

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