At Tuesday nights board of directors meeting, Bluefield West Virginia officials passed the first reading of a new ordinance that would prohibit people from owning dogs deemed to be pit bull type dogs. Bluefield already has restrictions for owners that include a special registration with the city.
Officials in Bluefield had cited a lack of compliance with the “pit bull” restrictions as the reason they are seeking the ban. This now appears to not be the case. With the recent publicity behind the proposed ban, residents are aware that there are special requirements for pit bull type dogs and have been going out and registering their dogs to come into compliance with the law. Many residents have said that they did not know there were restrictions but now that they know, they are doing what is needed by law. The number of registered dogs has jumped from around 5 to over 30, but officials are proceeding with a ban despite growing compliance within the community. This number would no doubt continue to grow as more and more people become aware of what is required of them.
This highlights one of the issues with breed discriminatory laws. Often people are unaware of the restrictions, until their dog is confiscated because town officials pass the law, then never do any awareness campaigns to let people know that there are special restrictions for certain dogs. When the law is breed neutral it is easier to get compliance because there is no sliding scale of expected owner responsibilities. Everyone is held to the same standards, as they should be. A reckless dog owner is a danger to the community no matter what shape their dog is.
Bluefield residents and locals: Please continue to reach out respectfully and factually to oppose a ban. Instituting a ban will only cost tax payers, be just as difficult to enforce as the current restriction and penalize responsible owners while those who break the laws will continue to do so.
City of Bluefield
200 Rogers St
Bluefield, WV 24701
Mayor Linda Whalen
Director Mary Frances Brammer
Director Deb Sarver
Director Pete Sternloff
Director Tom Blevins