West Fork, AR: Proposed breed ban public hearing, May 8

Many thanks to Mona for putting this on our radar.

West Fork, AR, is experiencing growing pains. They’re growing, they lack animal ordinances, and they have only one part-time animal control officer.

The city council has come up with some proposed animal control ordinances. One of the provisions is a “pit bull” ban with a grandfather clause. Current residents can keep their “pit bulls” as long as they register the dog by the date of the ordinance’s passage. No new or unregistered “pit bulls” will be allowed.

The council added the “pit bull” ban to the proposed ordinances because they are having new problems with “pit bulls” running loose and with people not registering their “pit bulls” (as is currently required for all dog owners). The irony here is that, according to the mayor, West Fork’s “pit bull” problem is partly due to neighboring communities banning the dogs. So… what is West Fork council doing to solve the problem? Banning the dogs and passing the problem on to one of its neighbors. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: breed bans and BSL don’t make communities safer, because these laws don’t hold bad dog owners responsible—BSL just pushes the problem around.

The city will hold a public hearing on the animal ordinances, including the “pit bull” ban, on May 8 from 6:00 to 6:30 at City Administration building, 262 Main Street, West Fork (across from the Little O’ Oprey).

IMPORTANT: The mayor and council are aware that the “pit bull” ban is the most contentious of the proposed ordinances. The mayor understands the concerns about the breed ban and has advised us that the council is looking for SOLUTIONS. And they can’t solve anything if all they get are angry objections. We agree.

If you attend the council meeting on May 8, please come prepared to speak concisely and informatively. BE HELPFUL. Briefly state your objection to the breed ban, and then provide a good breed-neutral alternative dog ordinance or some pointers for the council to improve the ordinance. All dog owners should be held to the same standards, regardless of what their dog looks like.

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