College Park, GA: Council revises dog ordinance, retains BSL

Since 1989, College Park, GA, has considered the following breeds to be “potentially dangerous”: Pitbull, Rottweiler, Doberman, German Shepherd. Owners of these dogs are required to specially register their dogs with the city. The city code also refers back to state law regarding potentially dangerous dogs, which requires liability insurance and special enclosures.

It appears that this long-standing BSL was either not enforced, or else not working, or else residents were not aware of its existence.

On April 4, College Park council approved revisions to the dog ordinance. The revisions retain breed-specific language, declaring the following breeds to be “potentially dangerous”: Pitbull, American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, Staffordshire Bull Terrier, Rottweiler, Doberman, and German Shepherd. The new ordinance requires owners of these dogs to obtain liability insurance and surety bond (at much higher rate than state requirements for potentially dangerous dogs), muzzle the dog in public, and specially register the dog, among other things. The ordinance also refers back to state requirements for potentially dangerous dogs.

College Park council approved the revisions without any public notification or discussion. The April 4 agenda contained the first and only public notice that any revisions were being considered. The revisions were briefly discussed, then approved, by council. Residents were notified of the “new” rules in their water bill. Local news stations have only just now covered the ordinance revisions.

Last week, I requested the revised ordinance from the city clerk and council–a request that they could not initially fulfill, since they did not have the revised ordinance prepared for the public to view. The city website still does not have it posted, but you may read my copy of the April 4 revised ordinance here:

Minutes from the April 4 council meeting provide some insight into the discussion held by council regarding the revisions. Read the entire discussion here (page 16 through 18):

741 Mayor Longino asked, where did this begin to be pushed from, our side or your side?
743 City Attorney Michael Williams said a review of the ordinance was initiated by a couple of
744 events that occurred in the last year or so, and by Councilman Clay.
746 Mayor Longino said he would like to see what we have changed in the ordinance.
748 Councilman Clay said there is a whole section that shows the changes.
750 Councilman Carn said at one point we talked about dangerous breeds and whether we want
751 them at all.
753 Mayor Longino said he thinks it is hard to control that.
793 Councilman Phillips asked, what criteria did we use for designating certain breeds as being
794 dangerous?
796 Animal Control Officer Mike Antol said that I don’t know. […]

Contact information for College Park officials:
Mayor and Council;;;;
City Clerk

Next council meetings: June 6 and June 20, 7:30 PM, City Hall Council Chambers, 3667 Main Street, College Park, GA 30337.

News articles about the revisions (both published June 4 / 5):

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