JACKSON, MS (WLBT) – The recent death of a child by a Pit Bull prompted Jackson city leaders to consider putting more teeth into its vicious dog ordinance, even banning the breed. But there wasn't enough support to make any changes.
Monday city council members considered two options in amending the current vicious dog ordinance. One would add more restrictions to Pit Bulls and owners, requiring permits, tags and insurance and setting fines and penalties for separate offenses. The other would ban the breed.
"We've got a motion," said Rules Committee Chairman Jeff Weill, Sr. who spearheaded the effort.
"You don't have a motion because of a lack of a second," answered Council President Frank Bluntson.
"I'm looking for a second," Weill responded.
"No, but you won't get it," replied Bluntson.
None of the council members would second either option, killing the measures in committee. The problem for most was targeting one breed.
"I was very sorry about the young lady, the little girl who was killed by the Pit Bull but that's what got everybody riled up. But if it had been a Doberman then it'd be Dobermans, and if it had been a Rotweiller, it would have been Rotweillers," said Bluntson.
J.P.D. Deputy Chief Gerald Jones told council members that an officer has now been assigned as an animal cruelty investigator and all vicious dog calls will now be tracked through the city's Sysco System with the animal, its owner and address monitored.
"The existing ordinance does not work. Ban, that's the only right way, and I've heard this talk about the existing ordinance and that's simply a joke," said Rev. Willis Washington, Jr.
He said he lives in fear of a Pit Bull that lunges at him through his back yard fence. Washington returned to the committee to petition council members to support the Pit Bull ban.
"This thing got blown out of proportion by what you call the Pit Bull paparazzi which is the media that takes this dog and make it out to be this breed and other people listen to it without knowing actual hard facts or haven't been exposed to this dog," said Persointe Addison.
Addison lives in north Jackson and owns two Pit Bulls, he said he researched the breed and wanted to attend the meeting to tell the council that statistics show Pit Bulls are not bred to be aggressive toward people.
About a dozen people showed up in opposition to the ban, while only one, Rev. Washington, spoke out in support of it. Weill said there are many more in the city who did not attend the meeting that want pit bulls banned in the city.
"It's frustrating because I think that's where 90% of the danger dog attacks come from, pit bulls. This was a simple way to take care of a great deal of the problem," said Weill.
The full council will now have to determine whether the current ordinance is tweaked or if the rules committee should go in a different direction.
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