Author Archives: Fred M. Kray

Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana Considering Breed Discriminatory Legislation

The Tangipahoa Parish Council discussed requiring pit bull owners to have their dogs licensed, vetted and micro-chipped at their last meeting. Animal Control Director Chip Fitz said he’s leaning towards such regulation because “If we have an animal able to do damage, we want to be able to track it.”

According to Fitz, the ordinance has not been finalized and no timetable was set for it to be brought before the parish council for consideration.

Fitz admitted that overall bite counts had remained constant over the last two years: 55 in 2011 and 53 in 2012. His concerns with pit bulls, however, were irresponsible ownership and level of strength. “My concern is traditionally when a pit bull bites, it’s bad.” Pit bulls have also become a lot more popular in the last year.

It is inconceivable that regulation of pit bulls in Tangipahoa Parrish is even being considered without some kind of objective evidence it is needed. Bite data remains the same, despite the observation that pit bulls “have become a lot more popular.” No evidence has been produced as to the number of pit bulls, nor any evidence that pit bulls have been involved in bites more than any other breed. And, of course, there has been nothing shown that indicates pit bull bites have been more severe than any other type of dog.

Please send objective, polite, and respectful communication to the Council members below to let then know you are against this potential pit bull regulation.

Hon. Trent Forrest
19334 Hwy 38
Kentwood, LA 70444
(M) 985-514-1955

Hon. Ronnie Bankston
43229 Sweetpea Lane
Hammond, LA 70401
(O) 225-567-2350/985-320-6159

Hon. Greg Varnado
59467 Dummyline Rd.
Amite, LA 70422
(O) 985-748-9320

Hon. Lionel Wells – Chairman
1700 Mooney Avenue
Hammond, LA 70403

Hon. Louis Nick Joseph
279 Highway 40 West
Independence, LA 70443

Hon. David Vial
47162 Oak Creek Trace
Hammond, LA 70403
(M) 985-974-0570

Hon. Carlo S. Bruno
P.O. Box 1274
Independence, LA 70443

Hon. Harry Lavine
21145 Esterbrook Rd.
Ponchatoula, LA 70454
(M) 985-222-5325

Hon. Nicky Muscarello, Sr.
105 Abingdon Way
Hammond, LA 70401

Hon. Bobby Cortez
42102 Jefferson Drive
Hammond, LA 70403
(O) 985-542-1581

Kristen Pecararo
P. O. Box 215
Amite, LA 70422
(O) 985-748-3211/748-7041

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Three Cities in Pope County Arkansas Considering Breed Discriminatory Legislation: Dardanelle, Dover and Pottsville

Three cities within Pope County, Arkansas are considering breed discriminatory legislation. Proponents have been strong fighting for BDL, and it is only by reaching out to officials and actually attending the meetings that breed discriminatory legislation will be defeated. Proponents are using the fact that Russellville, the county seat has a breed specific ordinance, and using that as precedent.

Of note is the fact that there have been no incidents, nor is there any bite data in any of these three cities that regulation is needed. They are using the same justification that Boston used for targeting pit bulls, saying that there is an “increase in criminals using vicious dogs, especially pit bulls to guard drug houses.” Of course, this is not a real reason to pass such a law. It is a smokescreen and playing on the fear of the public of crime in general. We need safer communities for everyone from all dangerous dogs, not a specific breed. The meetings and contacts are listed in the chronological order of upcoming meetings. Pottsville’s meeting is tomorrow! Dover’s meeting is this Tuesday!

Pottsville, Arkansas

The Pottsville ordinance was previously tabled, but will be reconsidered on Monday, September 30, 2013.

City of Pottsville, Arkansas
City Hall
173 E. Ash Street
Pottsville, AR 72858
Phone: (479) 968-3029
E-Mail: ptsvlcty@cswnet.com


Dover, Arkansas

The third and final reading for the ordinance targeting pit bulls takes place October 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

Mayor Patrick Johnson
mayorofdover@centurytel.net

City Treasurer/Recorder
Regina Kilgore
treasurerofdover@centurytel.net

Dardanelle, Arkansas

The second reading of the pit bull ordinance with be held on October 7, 2013 at 7:00 pm.

Mayor Carolyn McGee
CMcgee@dardanelle.com

City Clerk
cityclerk@dardanelle.com

Riverside, MO Repeals Long Standing Breed Ban

Brent Toellner reported that the City of Riverside, which is an inner ring suburb of Kansas City, has repealed its ban on pit bulls.

The city’s newsletter stated: “The former ban on owning pit bulls has been revised, and the breed is now allowed within the city limits. The new code prohibits animals whose behavior has been deemed dangerous, regardless of a specific breed.”

It is not clear what went on behind the scenes to prompt what is contained in the newsletter, but as news becomes available, we will report on it.

Camanche, Iowa City Council Does Not Pursue Breed Discriminatory Legislation

Although Camanche, Iowa officials had discussed a proposal to ban pit bulls within its city limits, the city council decided not to pursue such a ban. The proposal was tabled at a September 17, 2013 meeting.

The City Attorney, Thomas Lonergan, seemed to be the main catalyst for the breed ban, asking the council to consider it at an August 6, 2013 meeting. The City Attorney seemed to be relying, in part, on the fact that the City of Clinton, Iowa was also considering an ordinance targeting pit bulls. Ironically, Clinton, Iowa decided not to move towards a breed ban, undercutting support for Mr. Lonergan’s request. Lonergan also cited to three prior Clinton attacks for the pit bull ban, and urged council members to act before an incident happened that forced them into action.

It appears the city council had no data from their own city to support the proposition that a ban was needed, and made the right decision to table the discussion.

Riverside County, CA Mandating Spay Neuter on Pit Bulls Public Hearing Set For October 8, 2013

Riverside County supervisors set a public hearing for October 8, 2013 at 9:30 a.m. to further consider the proposed ordinance that would require pit bulls over four months old housed in unincorporated areas of Riverside County to be spayed or neutered. The proposal could then get a public hearing on October 22, 2013 after which the Board can decide to pass, change or take no action.

Supervisor John Travaglione was quoted as saying “We tend to see that many owners of pit bulls are not responsible.” Tavaglione had said in April that he wanted tough regulations targeting owners after learning that an 84-year-old Jurupa Valley man was torn apart by a family pit while sitting in his wheelchair.

The Supervisors voted 5-0 to move the proposed ordinance forward.

The genesis of the ordinance was the Department of Animal Services who told the board that 20% of impounded dogs and 30% of those euthanized at county shelters are pit bulls that “historically have very low redemption or adoption rates.” This was coupled with testimony of victims of pit bull attacks, including Beaumont City Councilwoman Brenda Knight, who stated that the pit bulls have a vicious streak and physical makeup that make them inherently dangerous.

The board was warned by veterinarian Melanie Verreault that mandatory sterilization would lead to less compliance with county dog licensing and registration regulations. “Anti-breed legislation is a bad idea. There are too many people flying under the radar already.”

What constitutes a pit bull under the ordinance? “Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, American Stafford Terriers “or any mixed breed which contains … any one of these breeds so as to be identifiable as partially of one or more of these breeds.” If the owner disagrees with the identification, the ordinance provides for a “breed determination” which would require the county’s chief veterinarian to examine the dog. The owner then has the right to appeal the finding to a county administrative officer or take the case to court.

Interestingly, California law prohibits breed discriminatory ordinances except those pertaining to spay and neuter programs.

Anyone in the Riverside, CA area should plan on attending the October 8, 2013 meeting to oppose the ordinance and reach out to the Riverside County Board of Supervisors and show opposition to the ordinance.

Riverside County Board of Supervisors
district1@rcbos.org,District2@rcbos.org,district4@rcbos.org,
district3@rcbos.org, district5@rcbos.org

Jay Orr
County Executive Officer
County Administrative Center
4080 Lemon Street – 4th Floor
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 955-1110
ceo@rceo.org

Public Information Officer

Ray Smith
County Executive Office
4080 Lemon Street – 4th Floor
Riverside, California 92501
(951) 955-1110
raysmith@rceo.org

Massachusetts Legislature Sends Boston’s BDL Law 969 “To Study”

The Massachusetts Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government sent Boston’s Senate Bill 969 (asking for allowance of pit bull regulation despite state law prohibiting it) “to study.” This means it is likely that the bill will make no further progress this legislative session.

Pit Bulletin Legal News attended the hearing on Bill 969 and testified against it. In preparation for the hearing, PBLN sent out an exhaustive Freedom of Information Act Request, which resulted in the production of two documents which showed overall bite counts went up after Boston began its breed discriminatory legislation. The only person who testified on behalf of the bill was the Director of Boston Animal Control. He provided no statistics, bite counts, or any data of any kind. His rational for supporting the law was so “we can get the bad guys.” The inference was that having pit bull regulation would give police probable cause to go after gang members and other criminal elements in the community. Sorry, but that’s not a legitimate legal reason.

Please contact both your state senator and state representative and ask them NOT to support S. 969. The bill, text below, would allow cities and towns to enact ineffective breed-discriminatory legislation, which focuses on preventing dog bites based on how certain dogs look, not how they act. Even though it was initiated by Boston, the bill would allow BDL anywhere in the state.

S. 969, An Act relative to Dangerous Dogs in Cities and Towns

SECTION 1. Subsection a of section 157 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 31 of chapter 193 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting in the first paragraph, after the world “dog”, in clause ii, the following:-

Unless municipal attack data indicates a specific breed may be deemed dangerous.

SECTION 2. Subsection c of section 157, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting in the last paragraph, after the word “breed”, the following:-

Unless a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.

SD1247 filed to allow BSL in Massachusetts

Thanks to Bless the Bullys for passing along this information from Massachusetts Federation of Dog Clubs and Responsible Dog Owners. The bill to allow municipalities to pass breed specific laws in Massachusetts now has an official number.  Senator Michael Rush has proposed Senate Docket 1247 in his priority package of bills for 2013.  This bill would allow an exemption from the prohibition on breed specific legislation if a municipality can prove through statistical analysis of there bite data that one breed of dog is biting more than another. No additional details are given as to who would be responsible for the analysis and how they would assign breed descriptors, though we can only assume it will be based off visual ID. Once it is “proven” that one breed poses more of a risk than another the ordinance must then go through the normal channels in order to be voted into law.

From the MFDC&RDO website:

The Mayor of Boston put forth statewide legislation to return to breed-specific legislation (BSL) in his priority package of bills that was released on January 15. The bill is being spearheaded by Councilor Rob Consalvo of Boston, though has been filed in the state legislature by State Senator Michael Rush.

Please contact both your state senator and state legislator and ask them NOT to co-sponsor SD 1247. The bill, text below, would allow cities and towns to enact ineffective breed-specific legislation. Even though it was initiated by Boston, the bill would allow BSL anywhere in the state.

If you live in Boston, this is especially important, as the Boston delegation (representative and senators who represent any part of Boston) will likely be heavily lobbied by Councilor Consalvo to sign on as co-sponsors.

– You can find your representatives here:
– All legislators can be reached at: 617-722-2000
– The state’s website is here.

The text of SD1247 has not been posted on the Massachusetts legislature website.  It should be added to the website shortly, and we will provide the information to track the progress of the bill.

Some communication has been received  from various legislators in Massachusetts indicating that this could go either way, so it is very important for people to continue contacting their representatives.

The following is copied text of SD1247

“SD 1247, An Act relative to Dangerous Dogs in Cities and Towns

SECTION 1. Subsection a of section 157 of chapter 140 of the General Laws, as appearing in section 31 of chapter 193 of the acts of 2012, is hereby amended by inserting in the first paragraph, after the word “dog” in clause ii, the following:-

Unless municipal attack data indicates a specific breed may be deemed dangerous.

SECTION 2. Subsection c of section 157, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by inserting in the last paragraph, after the word “breed”, the following:-

Unless a city or town deems a specific breed to be deemed dangerous through analysis of municipal attack data and by a majority vote of the city council with the approval of the mayor, in the case of a city with a Plan A, Plan B, or Plan F charter; by a majority vote of the city council, in the case of a city with a Plan C, Plan D, or Plan E charter; by a majority vote of the annual town meeting or a special meeting called for the purpose, in the case of a municipality with a town meeting form of government; or by a majority vote of the town council, in the case of a municipality with a town council form of government.”

It has been brought to my attention that we had left off a credit for this posting initially. We are very sorry for having excluded that information and it has been fixed. We sincerely apologize.