Two Arkansas towns reject calls for breed discriminatory laws

This week 2 Arkansas towns that were considering breed discriminatory laws have officially rejected BDL in favor of breed neutral laws.

MONTICELLO:  After a long period of discussion, officials in Monticello Arkansas enacted a breed neutral ordinance.

Back in 2012, the council was approached by the head of the Humane Society of Southeast Arkansas, asking for a ban or regulations on pit bulls.  The issue came forward and was tabled several times, while drafts were constructed and the current ordinances examined.

This Thursday officials passed a breed neutral ordinance unanimously.

The new ordinance has 2 classifications, one for vicious dogs which are defined as “any dog which had a disposition to bite humans, and any dog which had has bitten, or attempted to bite, any person within the past 12 months” and one for dangerous dogs, which are defined as having bitten, or attempted to bite, any person once it has already been labeled as a vicious dog.

Also included are some heavy fines for various violations.

Not only does the ordinance address dangerous dogs, it also addresses a variety of husbandry issues that would point to neglect, making it easier for officials to address situations of neglect in the community.

The ordinance addresses cleanliness issues and reads that, “It shall be unlawful to allow premises where any dog is kept to become unclean and a threat to the public’s health by failing to diligently and systematically remove all animal waste from the premises.”

It is now illegal for any person keeping a dog to fail to keep the area housing the dog clean, dry and sanitary. It is also now illegal for dog owners not provide protection against weather extremes as well as failing to keep fresh water available for the dog.

SPRINGDALE:  In 2013 a member of the council requested a ban after an attack he attributed to a “pit bull.”

The Mayor asked for public input and the result is an ordinance that not only is breed neutral, but one that goes out of its way to specify that dogs cannot be declared dangerous based on their breed.  In the definitions of the proposal it clearly states that breed is not a factor in considering the dangerousness of a dog.

“Potentially dangerous animal means, regardless of breed,
1) any dog or other animal that has shown a propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack without provocation and is able or likely to inflict injury to another person or animal; or
2) without justification, behaves in a manner that a reasonable person would believe poses an unjustified imminent threat of serious injury or death; or
3) without provocation, chases, confronts. or threatens to attack a person or domestic animal: or
4) approaches a person or domestic animal on a street, sidewalk or public or private property in a menacing fashion such as would put a reasonable person in fear of attack.”

“Vicious dog or vicious animal means, regardless of breed, any dog or other animal that has bitten or attempted to bite any person, or caused serious injury to another domestic animal or livestock without provocation and is able or likely to inflict injury to another person.”

This is a draft only at this stage, and officials may still make some changes, but the issue of breed discrimination appears to have been put to rest.

Congratulations, Springdale and Monticello officials and residents.   Through thoughtful work on these ordinances, both communities will become safer and more humane for everyone.

3 responses to “Two Arkansas towns reject calls for breed discriminatory laws

  1. Actually the public and the shelter director unanimously rejected the proposed changes that had been made to Springdale’s Ordinance as I was there. So I don’t know what public you are referring to but the animal loving and owning citizens that showed up for the meeting, strongly opposed the changes and no input in what was proposed. The next meeting is Feb 3rd and I expect it to be a heated one, so come on out and join the fun.

    • We were not referring to input at any specific meeting but during the preceding weeks leading up to the meeting in the form of written correspondence. We have already reviewed the proposal put forward by the council and it is contained with in the post. People seem to have objections to dangerous dog laws for many different reasons, and while the proposal is not perfect, it is a step in the right direction for addressing the issues behind dangerous dogs and properly regulating canine related issues in the community.