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How Much Is That Doggy (Ban) In The Window?

In 2006, Russellville passed Ordinance No.1918 which bans specific breeds from the Russellville city limits. What breeds, you might ask? Though I'm fairly certain you can guess, it's the ones listed below:

  • American Pit Bull Terrier

  • Staffordshire Bull Terrier

  • American Staffordshire Terrier

  • American Bull Dog

  • basically any dog that is commonly referred to as "pit bull".

17 years after adopting the ban, the issue was back before City Council. This time it was on whether we should repeal the ban or update the code and allow the breed (with some caveats). Ward 4 Councilman, Justin Keller, has been doing an amazing job working towards a resolution on this for nearly a year.

For me, being new to City Council, my goal is to look at the unresolved issues from the previous administration so I can be up-to-speed when it's decision time. So, I read over the original ordinance and the latest code update proposal, as well as relevant articles from reputable sources. From the research I found, there isn't sufficient evidence supporting the effectiveness and practicality of bans. I also met with the Animal Control Director, Mike Vernon, to discuss how each path would affect his department. A few members of the community also reached out to me directly with their thoughts. While the input ranged from some not even knowing that a ban existed, to people vehemently wanting to keep the ban - I knew that I had a job to do. The people who voted for me believe I have the ability to make decisions on their behalf. So, though I may not always fall on the side you want, it won't be due to ignorance.

That is why I proposed removing the code update option from the table during the city council agenda prep meeting last Tuesday and just focus on repealing the ban. Tonight, February 16th, we voted to read the ordinance for the second of two times and pass the repeal.

What does that mean? That means in 30 days the repeal will go into effect. So, on March 16th pit bulls will be allowed in the city limits. This does NOT mean that any vicious animal code has been tossed out the window. Those are two separate issues. This simply allows all dogs to be treated the same - vicious or certified good boys and girls.

Besides, according to the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior,

"Any dog may bite, regardless of the dog’s size or sex, or reported breed or mix of breeds. The AVSAB’s position is that such legislation—often called breed-specific legislation—is ineffective, and can lead to a false sense of community safety as well as welfare concerns for dogs identified (often incorrectly) as belonging to specific breeds.”

As with any decision made by a few for the good of the many, not everyone will be happy with this result. If you're one of those people, please reach out to me and I would be happy to discuss a way to address your specific concerns in a more targeted way.



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