Tag Archives: Albany georgia

Albany Georgia tables breed discriminatory ordinance

Following the first vote, in which a strict breed discriminatory law was passed in Albany Georgia, support from officials began to wane.

If the proposal had been passed unanimously, officials could have waived the second reading and passed the proposal in one night.  The vote came in at one short of unanimous and was scheduled for the next vote.

This began the back slide of support for the proposal.  Many in the community and from organizations dealing with these issues began reaching out to the commission to express opposition to BDL and offer alternatives to the proposal between the first and second meetings.

There were several issues being raised, from the difficulty of enforcement, to concerns that the ordinance as drafted was to going to be too much of a financial burden on people.

After that first vote, the council had 2 new members take their seats.  Both of these council members were opposed to the proposal.  “Commissioner Coleman and Ward III Commissioner B. J. Fletcher took office after the ordinance was introduced.  Neither likes the existing proposal because of cost to owners and questions about enforcement.”  Additionally, Fletcher stated that any law they enact should be “concise” so that it is able to be enforced.

One council person felt that the ordinance should be passed and then revisited to be amended later on.  Jon Howard said there should be changes made to the proposal but wanted to pass something first and make changes when they see what is and what is not working.

At the last meeting, the final vote was to be held, but instead the commission voted to table the proposal.  Usually when a proposal is tabled, a date is set for it to be considered again.  This is not the case in Albany.  There was no discussion whether this would be considered again, and when that may be.  According to news reports, the commissioners are considering the proposal dead at this time.

This does not mean that the proposal is dead, however.  Until it is officially killed off, the proposal is still possible in the future.

Two council members are staunchly for a breed discriminatory law.  Additionally, one is for a breed discriminatory law because he knows of backyard breeders and some how thinks that the proposal will end that.

There are several important things to note about Albany’s Animal Control.  They do not have their own facility and pay the local humane society to house dogs.  This proposal would put an extreme burden of both the finances of the city, as well as the finances of the local Humane Society.

Records are not kept in any adequate way.  The commissioners had used the statistic that there were 48 bites attributed to “pit bulls” in 2013.  These are both animal and human combined.  The most recent census data from Albany puts the population in 2012 at just over 77,400.  There was no other data supplied about the numbers of other bites, though the indication is that there are many other bites that need to be addressed in the city and the 48 is a minority of incidents.

Georgia had passed a state level dangerous dog law that dealt with many issues some time ago, which was supposed to have been incorporated into the local municipalities by now.  Albany has not yet done so.  In fact, though there is a breed neutral dangerous dog law on the books, there is no classification for a potentially dangerous dog, nor is there any particular nuance or deterrent in the current ordinance.

Groups in the area are working to change this, so that Albany can strengthen the dangerous dog laws and be able to address the real cause of dangerous dogs in the community and come into compliance with the state law.

One group, Stubby’s Heroes, has provided substantial information to address the various issues being experienced by the community.  They have offered breed neutral alternatives and are working to bring in those who can help Albany comply with state law.

At this point, there will be no breed discriminatory law in Albany.  The situation still bears watching into the future.  The best bet will be for officials to enact one of the alternatives offered so that all dangerous dogs in the community are addressed, and responsible owners aren’t penalized for the actions of the few.

Thank you Jo for the information and update regarding this issue.

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Albany Georgia passes first reading of breed discriminatory law

At last nights meeting, officials in Albany Georgia passed the first reading of an ordinance that would target “pit bulls.”

Initially some had been saying that this would be the first and only reading of the ordinance but this has turned out to not be the case.

There will be a second reading, tentatively scheduled for the middle of February, roughly one month after the first reading.

An interesting thing to note is that Commissioner Marietta, who had initially brought this forward, abstained from voting at last nights meeting.  He stated that he felt there were issues with the proposed ordinance that needed to be addressed and wanted more time, and a second review of the ordinance.

He also noted the many failures of breed discriminatory laws at last nights meeting.

“In fact some cities have tried it and it doesn’t work but since my colleagues are intent on passing something, I just thought that it would be wise to moderate it a little bit so that the average homeowner would be bankrupted by a dog ordinance,” said Marietta. full story

The current ordinance imposes several restrictions on owners of targeted dog.  They would have to register the dog with the police department, maintain either a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000 or a surety bond of at least $15,000 and meet confinement requirements.

According to the Best Friends Animal Society fiscal impact calculator a breed discriminatory ordinance will cost Albany over $100,000 to enforce.  One city commissioner had stated that though the ordinance was strict, it was designed for the entire city and not “a select few.”  This ordinance is NOT for the entire city and is only for “a select few” by only targeting part of the population of dog owners, and ignoring the recklessness of others.

Everyone in the area is encouraged to reach out and ask the commission to strengthen their dangerous dog laws in a breed neutral way.  All dogs that are a danger to the community must be dealt with, no matter what they look like, and all reckless dog owners need to be held accountable.  A breed discriminatory law is over and under inclusive in addressing these issues and fail to protect the community.

Everyone deserves to be protected from dangerous dogs of all kinds.  All victims deserve justice and all responsible owners deserve to have their property right maintained.

Alternatives can be found here and information on the failures of breed discriminatory laws can be found here.

Contact e-mails for city officials are as follows:

bob@langstafflaw.com
cpike@albany.ga.us
dhubbard@albany.ga.us
ihines@albany.ga.us
jhoward@albany.ga.us
rmarietta@albany.ga.us
tpostell@albany.ga.us

Albany Georgia looking into breed discriminatory law

The Albany City Commissioners are looking into changes to the city’s dangerous dog laws.

A citizens advisory committee has been approved to investigate the issue and make a recommendation to the Commissioners. The city Attorney has already began work on an ordinance that would single out pit bulls by requiring special registration, containment regulations, insurance and other restrictions that have yet to be named. At least one Commissioner, Tommie Postell, has spoken openly in opposition to singling out dogs based on breed.

There seems to be a lot of media bias at play here.  One Commissioner Robert Marietta said in a recent article, “That is a breed that has a proven propensity to bite.  We haven’t seen a whole lot of it around here, but there are news items from all over the country of little kids being mauled by pit bulls.”

The city’s current ordinance categorizes a “dangerous dog” as one that has bitten someone or caused an injury.  The current city ordinance (Part 2, Chapter 10) is a rather good one that offers stiff penalties and very clearly outlines the responsibilities and legal rights of those in the community.  This is probably one reason why Albany has not had an overwhelming issue in the community, though there is a very real possibility that they are not enforcing the laws. If there is any issue, it is not a failure of the law, which is quite comprehensive, but one of enforcement.

There are no dates at this time and since this is still in the discussion and drafting stage it is extremely important to reach out to city officials to politely offer evidence of the failure of breed discriminatory laws and breed neutral alternatives to help strengthen any areas officials feel are lacking in the law.

Commissioners e-mail information:

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard: dhubbard@albany.ga.us

Commissioner Jon Howard: jhoward@albany.ga.us

Commissioner Ivy Hines: ihines@albany.ga.us

Commissioner Christopher Pike: cpike@albany.ga.us

Commissioner Roger Marietta: rmarietta@albany.ga.us

Commissioner Bob Langstaff: bob@langstafflaw.com

Commissioner Tommie Postell: tpostell@albany.ga.us