At the May 7th meeting of the Darlington Common Council, officials heard a motion to repeal the breed discriminatory portion of the city code.
The change was requested by a resident, Jeanne Bailey, who had moved to town and was denied registration for her dog. Though she had the dog for years without incident because the law in Darlington focuses on the appearance of the dog and not its behavior, this dog would have been classified as vicious. The dog was considered a pit bull and under the law at the time pit bulls were declared vicious by default. The old code defined vicious dogs, in part, as:
“4. Any pit bull dog.
(b) Pit Bull Dog.
1. The pit bull terrier breed of dog.
2. The Staffordshire bull terrier breed of dog.
3. The American pit bull terrier breed of dog.
4. The American Staffordshire terrier breed of dog.
5. Dogs of mixed breed or of other breeds than
listed under subpars. 1. to 4. above whose breed or mixed breed is commonly known as pit bull, pit bull dog or pit bull terrier.”
A recent article
outlines the repeal very briefly. Bailey approached the chief of police, Jason King, who advised her to bring the matter to the Common Council. King stated he had been approached several times in the recent years requesting a change to the law but no one had ever followed through with bringing the matter before the Common Council until now. The most city officials seem to have a keen understanding of what the problems were with the old ordinance. Alderman Jon Sonsalla was quoted, at the meeting, saying, “You want to go after the behavior, not the breed.”
The repeal was passed, making Darlington officially a breed neutral community.