Wednesday, July 25, 2007

TOP STORY >>Beebe bans almost all pit bulls in town

Leader staff writer

All but a few of the estimated 150 pit bulls in Beebe must be out of town within 30 days or they will be impounded and possibly destroyed.

The Beebe City Council passed an ordinance Monday night banning all but the 11 dogs currently licensed. Owners of those dogs have 30 days to purchase liability insurance of at least $100,000, get microchips implanted in their dogs for identification and have them spayed or neutered.

The owners have 60 days to build pens approximately 20 feet by 40 feet to make sure their dogs can run loose.

Randy and Teresa Turner, who attended the council meeting earlier this month and argued their case for the grandfather clause that was not included in the original draft of the ordinance, also attended the Monday night meeting and protested the fence requirement.

Randy Turner told the mayor and council that he rented his home and that such a large pen would be expensive. Teresa Turner said she only took her dog out on a leash; that it would never live outside; and that she should not be required to fence her dog.

Alderman Tracy Lightfoot responded that if the city gave special consideration to the Turners, all the owners of licensed pit bulls would try to keep their dogs inside to keep from building pens.

“We can’t play favorites,” Lightfoot said.

“The fence is required,” the mayor said.

The ordinance passed with an emergency clause so the ban is effective now for all types of full-blooded pit bulls, mixed pit bulls and dogs that look like pit bulls.

Clerk-Treasurer Carol Crump-Westergren will send registered letters to the owners of licensed dogs explaining the rules for keeping their pets.

The ordinance also says that pit bulls are not allowed in multi-family dwellings and chaining dogs of all kinds is prohibited. The council told the city attorney earlier this month to include the grandfather clause for licensed dogs.

Lightfoot said Monday that he believed that only the five dogs licensed at that time would fall under the grandfather clause and that he was opposed to including the additional six dogs.

The mayor responded that not including them would probably be illegal and make the ordinance more vulnerable to lawsuits.
In other business:

The owners of the Sears store in Searcy are building a store in Beebe.

The 8,500-square-foot store will be built on Dewitt Henry Drive across from the funeral home. Sales are expected to exceed $3 million within three years.