Pits in the news and info on Breed Specific Legislation.

Postby cheekymunkee » November 3rd, 2006, 9:54 pm

Although by Texas law BSL is illegal, this could effect all dog owners. The good news is, they are willing to listen. Let's make our voices heard! Write, email, call! Even if you are not a Texas resident if we speak up, they have no choice but to hear us. This is a small town on the outskirts of Dallas, about 20 miles from me ... 0235d.html

DeSoto may ban some dog breeds

After pit bulls' attack on officer, other incidents, forum planned

09:30 PM CST on Thursday, November 2, 2006

By KATHY A. GOOLSBY / The Dallas Morning News

DESOTO – Earlier this year, two pit bulls attacked and bit a DeSoto police officer. And in another case, a pit bull escaped from its yard and trapped some neighbors in their home, forcing authorities to take drastic action.

"He got on their porch and wouldn't let them leave. We had to shoot that one, and we've had to shoot several others," said DeSoto police Capt. Ron Smith. "Unfortunately, the number of calls is increasing, and it usually involves pits.

"For some reason, that breed is more susceptible to bad training or breeding, and can easily become an aggressive dog."

Because of the recent spate of canine aggressiveness, city leaders plan to take another look at DeSoto's animal ordinance – which could lead to banning certain breeds, officials say.

But first, they want to hear what residents think.

"Rather than jump in and try to make changes to our ordinance, the council decided it would be worthwhile to have a forum for the community to come forward and talk about dogs," said City Manager Jim Baugh.

"We want to know what they like or don't like about dogs, whether it's chasing cars or digging under fences, or whether they would like us to consider banning certain breeds from the city."

One possibility at the Dec. 7 session could be the banning of all large dogs.

City leaders acknowledge that prospect could raise questions.

"Do you ban all dogs over 50 pounds?" asked Mayor Michael Hurtt. "Because then you've got the Old English sheepdog who's never bitten anyone."

The mayor acknowledged, though, that his personal concern is pit bulls, which include several breeds, such as the American pit bull terrier and Staffordshire bull terriers.

"Unfortunately, the complaints I've heard are pretty specific to pit bulls," Mr. Hurtt said. "We've heard from so many residents the last couple of years who have been bothered by them."

The problem lies more with the owners than the dogs, Capt. Smith said. He's seen pit bulls, as well as Rottweilers and other breeds commonly perceived as vicious, that are very social and friendly.

"If you mistreat them or train them to be aggressive, then it causes problems," he said.

Mr. Hurtt said vicious-dog problems in DeSoto go back as far as November 1993, when a female Rottweiler killed a 5-year-old child after digging out of its pen.

Pit bulls have been banned in Denver since 1989. Miami and Cincinnati followed with bans, and last year Ontario became the first Canadian province to prohibit pit bulls. Richardson passed an ordinance restricting ownership of the dogs in 1987, but it was struck down two years later by a Dallas appeals court.

DeSoto officials also may face legal roadblocks if they try to ban pit bulls or any specific breed.

"They can't do it under state law. They can only regulate the behavior, not the breed," said Jay Sabatucci, regional program manager for the Humane Society of the United States.

Mr. Sabatucci said that under Texas' Health and Safety Code, cities are allowed to regulate the handling of vicious or dangerous dogs, regardless of the breed.

"The Humane Society does not encourage specific breed legislation," Mr. Sabatucci said. "It's just bad law."

In recent years, increased growth in DeSoto has resulted in smaller yards and people living closer together, Mr. Hurtt said, and that can magnify any pet problems. Barking dogs and canines running loose in neighborhoods are among the complaints he's hearing more often, he said.

"In the area I live in, there is an apartment across the street with a family that has three pit bulls living in the apartment," said Mr. Hurtt, whose last two dogs lived 13 and 16 years. "I love animals, I believe in animals, but we've grown from a small community to a larger city, and it's time we had a discussion."

Other options officials may consider include limiting the number of animals in a specific space.

"We don't want to have some knee-jerk reaction to the people that scream the loudest," Mr. Hurtt said. "We want to know if this is a widespread problem or if people are OK with our ordinance."

The current DeSoto animal ordinance is relatively common, with such standard requirements as leashes and vaccinations.

Eight-year DeSoto resident Joe Pickens recently acquired two part chow, part pit bull puppies. He said responsible ownership is the key to raising safe dogs.

"I keep mine in the house or in the back yard, where I have a big board so they can't dig out," Mr. Pickens said. "They shouldn't ban a breed, just single out the dogs that are problems."

Cynthia Birl doesn't have any pets but sees no reason to change the city's animal ordinance. She's more concerned about the coyotes in her neighborhood than the dogs, which she said haven't caused her any problems since she moved to DeSoto 10 months ago.

Mr. Baugh hopes attendance at next month's meeting includes people with all sorts of dog concerns, both good and bad.

"We want to hear from people who have an issue and people who like the way we're doing things," Mr. Baugh said. "We need to hear from

Jim Baugh
DeSoto City Manager
211 E. Pleasant Run
DeSoto, TX 75115
Phone: 972-230-9643
Fax: 972-230-5793

Lynda Humble
Assistant City Manager
Office Telephone: 972-230-9612

City Secretary - Anell Shipman (Same as "city clerk")

Records Manager – Laura Hallmark

City council meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of every month in the Council Chambers at Town Center.

City council meeting Agendas & Minutes:
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Postby cheekymunkee » December 8th, 2006, 11:27 am

I was at that meeting last night ( and have talked several times with the Mayor & a couple of the city council men) and it was a good productive meeting. They are in NO way wanting to ban any breed of dog, they just wanted input as to what to DO about the growing stray dog problems. They do indeed have a leash law & are in the process of strengthening laws & fines for people who fail to contain their dogs properly. All around it was a good experience & PROOF that the pit bull community CAN come together! They were amazed at the amount people who contacted them in favor OF the pit bull.
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Postby Marinepits » December 8th, 2006, 11:32 am

Good work! :)
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Postby Jenn » December 8th, 2006, 9:53 pm

Excellent! Thanks for going, and helping! Glad there was a good showing. It's amazing how easily different types of people can get along sometimes. ;)
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Postby 04100824 » December 9th, 2006, 4:00 pm

That's wonderful!!!

KHOU news was having a poll on their web site for banning them in Houston - I was happy to see that we were winning - only by 5%, though...

SOOOO happy the meeting went well!! :D
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Postby cheekymunkee » December 10th, 2006, 1:31 am

On December 08 2006, 8:53 PM, Jenn wrote:Excellent! Thanks for going, and helping! Glad there was a good showing. It's amazing how easily different types of people can get along sometimes. ;)

It was!! I was proud to be there with so many people who were concerened as to the path this was taking. Rottie owners were there also. they asked for input & they got it. I think they were a bit overwhelmed by the amount of people who responded but they were happy to have the input. I walked away with a really good feeling. They are not wanting to alienate anyone, they just needed ideas. We have good dog laws in this state, we just need to enforce them.
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Postby Romanwild » December 10th, 2006, 10:07 am

Remeber that they are politicians. They might be saying the opposite thing to the other side. :(

Is the ADOA involved?

My mayor is running for re-election in 07' and they will be spending money to run ads against him for what he attempted here in 05'. :twisted:

Good luck!
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Postby IamaDick » December 10th, 2006, 5:54 pm

Thats good news, its good to hear that they were looking for ideas instead of just going with the flow.
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Postby cheekymunkee » December 12th, 2006, 1:22 pm

Actually, I am not positive that the ADOA is involved, I assume they are. I have not contacted them. We DO need to get them involved with Houston though, THAT is the one I am really worried about.
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