Union County and Waxhaw, NC: Commissioner wants breed ban

Union County Commissioner Jon Thomas has called for a ban on “pit bulls” in the wake of a fatal attack in Waxhaw, N.C. However, Thomas then learned that North Carolina state law prohibits breed bans (where he heard this is unclear; state law does not appear to prohibit breed bans). Nevertheless, he says he is determined to find solutions to avoid a repeat of the tragedy.

Keep in mind the following facts as explained by the local news media:

  • Waxhaw has no animal control.
  • Without animal control, dog laws (including leash law) are unenforced.
  • The dogs involved in the attack were reported to county animal control as neglected, malnourished, running loose, and mistreated. County animal control did not do anything about the dogs because they cannot enforce city laws.

It is unclear at this time what laws might be considered. However, locals should attend Waxhaw’s council meeting to guide the discussion toward realistic, effective non-breed-specific solutions.

Waxhaw Board of Commissioners meeting, January 17 at 6:30 PM, at the Museum of the Waxhaws.

Waxhaw officials contact info
Mayor Daune Gardner, 704-843-2195 ext 27, mayor@waxhaw.com
Mayor Pro Tem Martin Lane, 704-843-9606, mlane@waxhaw.com
Commissioner Joyce Blythe, 704-843-2246, jblythe@waxhaw.com
Commissioner Erin Kirkpatrick, 704-843-2195, ekirkpatrick@waxhaw.com
Commissioner Brett Diller, 704-843-2195, bdiller@waxhaw.com
Town Manager Michael McLaurin, 704-843-2195 ext 25, mmclaurin@waxhaw.com

Union County Commissioner Jonathan Thomas, who is calling for a ban or restrictions on “pit bulls”: Jonathan.Thomas@co.union.nc.us

Waxhaw has no animal control

Posted: 01/15/2011 3:41 PM

WAXHAW, N.C.– […] Waxhaw Mayor Daune Gardner said town leaders will meet on Monday to discuss possible new ordinances, including forcing pet owners to register potentially dangerous animals with the police.

“We will be looking at what we can do to make our community safer,” Gardner said.[…]

Waxhaw stopped providing animal control service five years ago because there were so few complaints, said McLaurin, the town manager.[…]

Union County Commissioner Jonathan Thomas said he looked into whether the county could ban pit bulls. Thomas said he was told state law would prohibit such a measure but he says it would protect residents.

“You should get rid of all of the pit bulls,” Thomas said. “You have to mitigate threats.”[…]

Some Waxhaw leaders indicated they would not support a ban on pit bulls, saying it is too difficult to separate breeds that are dangerous from those that are not.

But Mayor Gardner vowed officials would find out “what we can and cannot do.”

Full article retrieved 1/15/11 from http://m.wcnc.com/wcnc/db_20148/contentdetail.htm;jsessionid=F1CD2BE43C864A2E501F499C1C6F8145?contentguid=jwDzaI74&src=cat&full=true#display

A similar article on the topic can be found here: http://www.wsoctv.com/news/26506683/detail.html

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6 responses to “Union County and Waxhaw, NC: Commissioner wants breed ban

  1. selwyn marock South Africa

    Yeah Ban all Dogs,while this mayor is about it Ban all Motor Vehicles,Electrical appliances,swimming pools Ban everything.That should mitigate most of the Dangers.Oops I forgot the most important Ban all the Humans.

  2. Amanda Harrison

    I can not believe the ignorance. If people truly knew the pittbull breed they would know this breed is not people aggressive. It is the people that want to fight these dogs and the people who breed them for the purpose of money. These so called breeders are breeding dogs that should be nuetered or spayed. There should be a law preventing people from breeding unless they are the true breeders who breed quality dogs. The true breeders breed to improve the breed while everyone else in breeds, over breeds and so on. Pass a law to protect these dogs from bad breeding and the horror stories will stop. Be like Detroit and pass a law that anyone under 18 can not own one. Break down on dog fighting rings. Pittbulls are not the only dogs that bite. There are cases where a collie has killed a person snd exc.. Why not ban people for the murder rate? You can not hold the breed responsible when its clearly people who cause the problem. These dogs are not dangerous. The AKC puts the pitbull in the top ten ” friendly family pets” I do believe they know the breed better. Its like the movie Jaws. That put fear in people making them fear the ocean. The news doesnt report on every chiwawa bite or collies labs and so forth. The media has portrayed pittbulls as monsters causeing the public to fear the breed. Ignorance to the breed is not right. Get all your facts and spend some time with the breed before you pass judgement. Innocent until proven guilty not guilty until proven innocent. Its a witch hunt on animals.

  3. Here is a copy of the email I sent to Union County Commissioner Jonathan Thomas.

    I am a resident of Union County. Before any rash decisions are made about banning a breed of dog, please consider the following:

    1. The dogs involved in the attacks in both Union & Mecklenburg Counties were animals that had been chained outside and were not taught any social skills. This is similar to parents who abuse or neglect a child, the child is likely to grow up to be a criminal.

    2. The fact that there is not a county-wide leash law, applying to all towns & cities within, is confounding to animal control enforcement. ALL dogs should be required to be on a leash when not within a residence or fenced property.

    3. Per capita, Golden Retrievers bite more people than do Pitbulls. When any dog bites, the dog’s intention is the same, regardless of breed. Pitbulls are not blood-thirsty beasts, they just have stronger jaws than a Golden.

    4. I propose that owners of the so-called “dangerous breeds” be required to have a special license for the dog with mandatory training classes BEFORE they acquire the dog. Any owner of a “dangerous breed” that is found to be unlicensed or languishing on a chain outdoors will be issued a violation. Failure to comply would result in ever-increasing fines, 3 infractions result in the permanent seizure of the dog. Irresponsible dog owners will be discouraged from owning due to the scrutiny, leaving the truly deserving dog owners to enjoy the breed of their choice.

    5. Breed-specific Legislation is a slippery slope. How can you justify banning one breed without banning all breeds that are physically capable of a devastating bite? Pitbulls are no more “dangerous” than the following:
    1. Rottweilers
    2. German Shepherds
    3. Boxers
    4. Chows
    5. Mastiffs
    6. Great Danes
    7. Doberman Pinschers
    8. American Bulldogs
    9. English Bulldogs

    I am the proud and responsible owner of an American Pitbull Terrier. I didn’t spend hundreds of dollars at a breeder to have a status symbol dog. I adopted her from a rescue group as a puppy. I taught her manners and social skills. She is never outside unsupervised and if we leave my property, she is leashed, always. She sleeps in my bed, she snuggles with my children and Chihuahuas. Do you believe that a responsible owner should be forced, by law, to give up the family pet after they’ve invested so much time, love, and money? Odds are, you know someone that has a breed of dog listed above. There are reputable breeders of dogs on that list, here in Union County. Should they be forced out of business?

    Unfortunately, we live in a county where dogs are allowed to roam free with no repercussions to the owner. I am reluctant to go for a walk because I have been attacked repeatedly by other people’s uncontrolled dogs while walking my own on a leash.

    If you truly seek to protect the public from the dangers of a dog attack, you should enact laws that enforce responsible ownership. Leash laws, education and enforcement are necessary. Dogs are routinely abandoned and forgotten on chains outside. When a tragedy happens, like in Waxhaw, knee-jerk response is to blame the breed. The real monster in that case is the owner, the dogs were just a product of their environment.

    • Thanks for writing your public servants. However, your letter indicates some confusion. On the one hand you argue against BSL, saying it is a slippery slope (point 5). On the other hand, you argue for BSL, saying owners of specific breeds should be required to follow different ownership rules (point 4). You do not have to settle for BSL just because it’s not a ban. All types of BSL are discriminatory at their core, and all should be fought against for that reason.

  4. I understand your point, but in the wake of the attacks, they will not just stand by and do absolutely nothing. I’m trying to advocate the lesser of the evils. Besides, there are too many uneducated dog owners out there. Too many think it’s okay to put them out and throw an occasional dish of food and water at them. They are basically enslaving a feral dog, ANY breed is capable of an attack. But like I said, there is demand that SOMETHING, ANYTHING be put into law. I’d much rather it be restrictions than an outright ban. It’s sad that a child died, no one wants to see that happen. I also don’t want to see hundreds of bullies die in the ensuing witch hunt.

    • Restrictions also result in dogs’ deaths–in many cases, restrictions have the same results as a breed ban. Breed-specific restrictions are not “the lesser of two evils”–it is the same “evil,” in a slightly different package. The premise behind restrictions is the same as the premise behind bans: that some dogs are more dangerous than others and must be treated differently. If you accept that premise, then there is no way for you to fight a breed ban, as it operates on the same premise.

      There is no reason to settle for discriminatory restrictions. There are many breed-neutral measures that lawmakers may take that are more effective than BSL and do not discriminate. You say there are too many uneducated dog owners out there who mistreat their dogs. I don’t think you would suggest that pit bulls deserve better treatment than poodles–don’t all dogs deserve the same level of treatment, regardless of breed? Breed-neutral laws are the ONLY way to ensure that ALL dogs are being cared for and controlled properly and that ALL people (dog owners, dog bite victims, and the general public) are being treated fairly.

      If lawmakers are intent on doing something, that’s totally understandable. Encourage them to pass breed-neutral laws. (They don’t even need to pass laws to make a difference–they can fund animal control and enforcement of current laws, create a low-cost spay/neuter initiative, or offer an educational program.) There is a lot they can do. With so many proven viable options, we don’t have to settle for any “evil” at all.

      Just think about it, that’s all I’m saying.