Don’t ban breeds
I am responding to Ms. Moody’s letter of August 14, 2019. Ms. Moody was the victim of an unfortunate experience concerning her cat and several neighborhood dogs. Ms. Moody laid out the scenario and some history with the dogs and made reference to the fact that they are and have been considered “dangerous”. She also mentioned the need to additional ordinances and enforcement of current ordinances, even making a recommendation that the Board of Aldermen consider banning a specific genre of dog.
I would note that any additional ordinances to ban animals would not have saved her cat from an ugly demise, nor would it have kept her from any trauma. The owners of the dogs violated no less than three portions of the current ordinance in place in Louisville, MS. An additional ordinance to cover that owner’s animals would not have deterred them.
As per Ms. Moody, these dogs were not adequately cared for. According to Ordinance Number 329, “Whereas it is the duty of every owner of any animal, or anyone having any animal in his or her possession or custody, to provide the animal with appropriate humane living conditions and adequate veterinary care. It is also the duty of every owner, possessor, or custodian of animals to exercise reasonable care and to take all necessary steps and precautions to protect other people, property, and animals from injuries or damage which might result from their animals' behavior”.
The dogs were also running off lead, which is currently covered under Section C of Ordinance 329 “Any animal shall be deemed to be "running at large" if it is at any time off the premises of the owner, possessor, or custodian, and it shall not be sufficient that said animal is trained to obey the commands of its owner, possessor, or custodian of that it is momentarily or accidentally off the premises of the owner, possessor, or custodian, or that said owner, possessor, or custodian is not aware that said animal was off his or her premises”
Most importantly, these dogs were menacing at best, and did, in fact attack and kill a domestic animal which is covered by Ordinance 329, Section 10 C “A known propensity, tendency or disposition to attack without provocation, to cause injury to or otherwise endanger the safety of human beings or their domestic animals”
While I feel for Ms. Moody and her situation, it is not advisable for Louisville to go the irrational and uninformed direction of a full ban on a specific genre of dogs. Notice, I said “genre” and not breed as “pit bull” is NOT a breed of dog. “Pit bull is the common name for a type of dog descended from bulldogs and terriers. The pit bull-type is particularly ambiguous, as it encompasses a range of pedigree breeds, informal types and appearances that cannot be reliably identified”. Many legitimate dog breeds are often mistaken for “pit bulls” and many “pit bulls” are far from dangerous. I am willing to bet there are very few, if any, in the animal control service and law enforcement who are in a position of discerning a boxer or an American Staffordshire Terrier from a “pit bull”. A knee-jerk reaction of banning a group of animals is not the answer. Ms. Moody should have reported the dogs when she first encountered them and, as a result of the attack, the owners of the dogs who attacked Ms. Moody’s cat should have been cited and the dogs removed.
Enforcing the current ordinance is the answer to keeping the citizens, both animal and human, safe.