Wednesday, May 16, 2007

TOP STORY >>Jacksonville may ban pit bulls

Leader staff writer

All pit bulls, bull dogs or any mixed breed that is predominantly pit bull will have to be registered, spayed or neutered and micro-chipped if an ordinance to ban the breed from Jacksonville is approved.

Aldermen will vote on the matter at their regular meeting 7 p.m. Thursday at city hall.
Not only will the dogs be required to be clipped and chipped, if they are picked up because they are running loose, causing a nuisance or biting a human or another animal, the owners will have 48 hours to remove the animal from the city.
A second offense brings the death sentence.

Alderman Robert Stroud is sponsoring the ordinance, which will not allow any more pit bulls or bulldogs into the city. “We just got to do something,” he explained. “Pit bulls have been responsible for more than half the bite cases this year and last year. And the population in the city is growing exponentially since neighboring cities have banned the breed.”

Those type of dogs already in the city will be allowed to stay if the owner can show proof that the animal was licensed before the new ordinance went into effect, has proof of rabies vaccination and the owner is at least 21—and then has the dog spayed or neutered, registered and has a licensed veterinarian implant a computer chip into the animal.

“I really don’t like the idea of grandfathering in some of the dogs,” Stroud said, “because we can’t determine the good dogs and owners from the bad ones until a bite or attack occurs.”

Stroud said he recently got a call from a resident that is afraid to go into his own backyard. Stroud said the neighbor has three pit bulls that try to go through the fence every time the man goes into his backyard. “Why does anyone need three of those dogs?” the alderman asked.

According to the ordinance the only time a pit bull or bull dog may be brought into the city after the ordinance goes into effect is for the purpose of veterinary care, special event dog shows sanctioned by the city or for use by law enforcement or military personnel as part of their duties. “I know it’s controversial, but it’s best for the city,” Stroud said.

Other items on the council agenda include:

Deciding whether to buy three Kubota or Mahindra brush hog tractors. This decision was tabled at the last meeting.

The company selling the Mahindra tractors had the lowest price, but Public Works Director Jim Oakley asked the council to bypass the low bidder in favor of the Kubotas (the second lowest price) because he felt they were better tractors. The fire chief and police chief will make their monthly report to the council. So will the animal control and engineering departments.