Tuesday, October 13, 2015


Posted: Monday, October 12, 2015 10:50 pm | Updated: 11:01 pm, Mon Oct 12, 2015.

JACKSONVILLE  The City Council on Monday night adopted an amendment to an ordinance that defines “potentially dangerous dogs” and states how they should be restrained.

Any type of pit bull, as well as Rottweiler or any wolf hybrid, or mixed breed of a dog that contains any of their elements is now “a potentially dangerous dog” according to city code.The ordinance mandates that those dogs, when outdoors, be at all times “secured by a leash or other similar restraining device no longer than eight feet in length or enclosed by means of a fence or other secure enclosure.” A fence or secure enclosure is defined by the ordinance as “a structure of adequate height, forming or causing a humane enclosure suitable to prevent the animal from escaping and to prevent the entry of children.” The ordinance adds that underground fences — which deliver a harmless shock to a dog that tries to pass over a charged boundary — do not meet the requirement.
The ordinance indicates that violators could be fined anywhere from $300 to $500 and potentially serve jail time.
“I think it’s a perfectly valid ordinance,” said city attorney and prosecutor Richard Rhea, adding that he knew many municipalities have stricter leash laws on the books, with some mandating all breeds of dogs be restrained outdoors at all times.
Council President Mark Jones said the council wanted to avoid such a leash law that would “require even the little poodles to be inside a fence.” He said the council came to define “potentially dangerous dogs” through research.
“And there are others; any dog could potentially be that way,” Jones said.
“But those,” he said of the dogs defined by the ordinance, “they have it in their blood, I guess.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a 20-year study in 2000 that reported pit bulls and Rottweilers as causing the most human deaths of any type of dogs. The CDC has not published a study of that sort ever since.
While DogsBite.org, a nonprofit that according to its website is “dedicated to putting the safety of humans before dogs,” continues to publish studies based on media reports that consistently indicate pit bulls and Rottweilers as being the most dangerous of dogs, animal advocacy groups discourage legislation specifically aimed at dog breeds. 
In 2013, President Barack Obama’s administration issued a statement opposing breed-specific legislation.
“Research shows that bans on certain types of dogs are largely ineffective and often a waste of public resources,” the statement read, before referring to the CDC’s “community-based approach,” which offers guidelines for ensuring safety against dogs and advises against labeling any dog as dangerous.
The City Council had a public hearing of the ordinance at its Sept. 28 meeting. The council drafted the ordinance after being approached by the parents of two young children, John-Paul and Crissy Werner, who at the meeting two weeks ago expressed concern over what they said was a 142-LB. PIT BULL LIVING NEXT DOOR.
“There’s no fence, no leash, no nothing protecting me and my children from this dog,” Crissy Werner told the council.
She and her husband said that they loved animals and they didn’t want to be misunderstood. They said they were coming to the council out of fear for their children’s safety.
John-Paul Werner said “the wake-up” call came when he was taking out the trash one night and the pit bull started barking and “being ferocious.”
The Werners were not at Monday’s meeting. No one came to speak for or against the ordinance.
“If it’s a safety issue,” Jones said after the meeting, “then I think it’s something we have to address, whether it’s one person or the entire community coming to us.”
Council members said they had not heard any feedback from the community since reading the ordinance two weeks ago.


WIKIPEDIA:  Jacksonville is a city in Calhoun CountyAlabama, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 12,548,[1] which is a 49% increase since 2000. It is included in the Anniston-Oxford Metropolitan Statistical AreaJacksonville State University is located here, which is a center of commerce and one of the largest employers in the area.

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