Burley council drops plan to ban pit bulls
This document was published online on Thursday, June 19, 2008
By Damon Hunzeker/Staff writer
Pit Bulls within Burley city limits can relax. They will not be sent into exile, at least not as a collective group. Individual dogs that misbehave will be judged accordingly, as they always have been.
During Tuesday nightâ€™s Burley City Council meeting, members decided to forget about the idea of banning the ill-reputed dogs.
â€œI canâ€™t find that this bill, when you talk about breed-specific animals, can be enforced,â€ Councilman Dennis Curtis said.
Even Councilman Vaughn Egan, who originally proposed the ordinance, voted in favor of the motion to table the proposal.
Burley already has an aggressive-dog law, which holds the owner of a vicious animal, regardless of breed, responsible for the dogâ€™s behavior. Egan conceded that the law is probably sufficient ï¿½ provided it is enforced and that dog owners obtain licenses for their pets.
â€œThe bottom line is irresponsible dog owners,â€ Egan said.
Several dog owners from Burley offered their opinions.
Kathy Morris, who, along with her husband, owns two pit bulls, asked, â€œWhy put another law on the books when we already have one that should take care of the problem?â€
John Stokes said the proposal has put Burley in the news recently and that every dog lover in America knows about it. He then demonstrated, by showing a series of pictures, that pit pulls arenâ€™t easy to recognize and that many of their detractors mistake them for boxers or other breeds.
â€œIn reality, theyâ€™re just like any other dog,â€ he said.
Javier Martinez, who has owned pit bulls for 25 years, adopted a more personal approach. â€œTo put a ban on the breed itself is a pretty outlandish stereotype. Itâ€™s like saying Latinos are more aggressive than whites.â€
Martinez owns two of the dogs.
â€œDo you have them licensed?â€ Egan asked.
â€œNo. Iâ€™m actually going to get them licensed,â€ Martinez said.
Only one resident, Gerald Egan, spoke in favor of the ban.
â€œMr. Martinez is going to get them licensed because of all this,â€ he said and argued that, because it makes owners more responsible, the law is necessary.
Stokes later pointed out that, if there were a ban on pit bulls, there wouldnâ€™t be a need to get them licensed.
â€œIf dogs are trained to be aggressive, theyâ€™re going to be aggressive,â€ Curtis said and then suggested that the current law simply needs to be used ï¿½ by more citizens complaining about unruly dogs ï¿½ in order to â€œput more teeth in it.â€
While council members voted unanimously to table the idea of banning pit bulls, Vaughn Egan told people to get their dogs licensed and said, â€œI want to be on record as protecting the people of Burley.â€
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Bless the Bullys