The City of Ridgeland adopted its pit bull ban a year ago this month as a proactive measure. No one wanted to wait for a child to be attacked or killed by the breed of dog that's gained a fierce reputation.
Police Chief Jimmy Houston says enforcing it hasn't been hard. "The people that were the most boisterous about it, people on Ralde Circle and some other areas, came right into compliance. I think it's an excellent ordinance," he says.
A grandfather clause allowed citizens who already owned one or more pit bulls to be able to keep just one of them. But the dog and the owner had to undergo training.
Along with Ridgeland, the cities of Brandon, Clinton, and Richland also outlaw pit bulls and pit bull off-breeds.
But in Jackson this week, when Councilman Jeff Weill tried to introduce a measure to ban the dogs, he was shot down. Four of the other six council members opposed it, including Tony Yarber, Charles Tillman, Frank Bluntson, and Margaret Barrett Simon.
"I still believe it is not the perfect solution," Barrett Simon said during a meeting. She doesn't want to target specific breeds, telling 3 On Your Side "We have to have a process where, if you feel a dog is endangering you or your family, that dog can be deemed a dangerous dog".
She remembers an incident about two years ago when rottweilers killed a small dog in the City of Jackson. We informed her that Clinton's ordinance bans pit bulls and rottweilers.
The city council may head back to the drawing board to come up with language that pleases all members.
Chief Houston believes it's a worthy effort. "If they give the community a resolve, then I think the community will step up to the plate in Jackson and do the right thing," he says.
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