Ridgeland Bans Pit Bulls

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Yesterday, aldermen in the Jackson, Miss., suburb of Ridgeland joined nearby Clinton and Richland in passing an ordinance banning pit bulls. The Ridgeland ordinance also bans Staffordshire bull terriers, American Staffordshire terriers and wolf/dog hybrids. Rottweilers were included on a previous draft of the ordinance, but don't appear on the final ordinance.

A grandfather clause will allow Ridgeland residents who currently own one or more of the banned breeds to keep one dog as long as it is not dangerous. Owners of a banned-breed dog must also meet other criteria, including paying a $100 registration fee to the city and having the dog micro-chipped.

Ridgeland could fine dog owners not complying with the ordinance up to $1,000, send them to jail for up to 90 days, or both. Reportedly, the ban will go into effect in 30 days.

"We want to be sure that those who live in the city and those who visit feel safe and also those folks who do have dogs that they are responsible for those dogs," Ridgeland Mayor Gene McGee told WLBT.

Previous Comments

ID
144887
Comment

Ridiculous. Absolutely ridiculous.

Author
vince
Date
2009-03-18T15:48:24-06:00
ID
144890
Comment

It's the same people who make Jackson unlivable who give pit bulls a bad name.

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2009-03-18T16:41:11-06:00
ID
144892
Comment

And who are those people, could you explain. dont blame what ridgeland decided to do on Jacksonians.

Author
NewJackson
Date
2009-03-18T16:56:24-06:00
ID
144893
Comment

The people who think pit bulls are accessories that prove how tough they are. And they don't just live in Jackson. One of them was a highly paid football player.

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2009-03-18T17:05:18-06:00
ID
144895
Comment

This makes me sick. I hate that this breed is so misunderstood (and so abused by people who don't have any sense). I definitely won't ever live in Ridgeland now.

Author
andi
Date
2009-03-18T17:24:55-06:00
ID
144896
Comment

They need to ban the people who abuse animals. That would make more sense. Or, I don't know, have some real animal cruelty laws that are enforced?

Author
Jennifer2
Date
2009-03-18T17:29:57-06:00
ID
144897
Comment

pit bulls are dangerous no matter if a football player owns them or sally sue

Author
NewJackson
Date
2009-03-18T17:39:31-06:00
ID
144899
Comment

Really? Because a pit bull in my family was the sweetest creature I've ever encountered (living with a child under 5 years old to boot!), and the only problem was that he was convinced he was a lap dog. NewJackson, generalizations are still flawed thinking, whether it be about a person or a pet.

Author
vince
Date
2009-03-18T17:56:48-06:00
ID
144900
Comment

I can understand why pit bulls and Rottweilers are being banned, but I don't think that just being a specific breed of dog automatically makes them dangerous. You can make a beagle or dachsund (sp?) dangerous if you make them be.

Author
golden eagle
Date
2009-03-18T19:34:17-06:00
ID
144901
Comment

Any dog can be dangerous. Some of the meanest dogs I've ever met weighed less than 15 pounds. NewJackson is wrong, and that kind of thinking is what gets these dogs banned in the first place. I agree with Jennifer, let's ban the people who raise these dogs to fight and treat them badly in the first place.

Author
andi
Date
2009-03-18T19:57:36-06:00
ID
144902
Comment

well go to Ridgeland and protest if yall that mad

Author
NewJackson
Date
2009-03-18T20:36:50-06:00
ID
144905
Comment

Unconstitutional for sure. Unfortunately, no one wants to spend the money to fight these kinds of government interference.

Author
LambdaRisen
Date
2009-03-18T22:17:20-06:00
ID
144906
Comment

I am a very disheartened resident of Ridgeland to know that citizen's dogs are banned based on breed alone. We could learn a great deal by reading Jackson's much more logical and fair dangerous dog legislation. At Old Trace Park in Ridgeland, the Jackson Obedience Training Club provides AKC Canine Good Citizen(C.G.C.) training. Other AKC clubs administer C.G.C. and Therapy Dog International (T.D.I.) tests as at our Magnolia Christmas Cluster (MS State Fairgrounds) and our AKC Responsible Dog Ownership Day. The cluster was recognized by the Jackson CVB recently for bringing commerce into the Jackson area. Between 1500-1800 dogs are entered in the December shows every year. The AKC and the UKC oppose breed bans. Our own STATE OF MISSISSIPPI passed a resolution in 2006 to encourage AKC CGC certification on dogs! See http://www.akc.org/news/index.cfm?article_id=2880 The city of Ridgeland has banned some of the dog breeds that qualify for certification. Why are the current leash laws not being enforced? If dangerous dogs are running loose to harm neighbors then the owner should be punished by enforcing fines related to violating the leash law. If the dogs are being kept within the safe confines of a securely fenced yard, how are they creating havoc in the neighborhood? If a dog is dangerous, why is owning one of the banned breeds allowed? Were responsible owners not considered when the breed ban was passed UNANIMOUSLY by the aldermen? Did Animal Control officers investigate complaints and determine whether the dogs in question were vicious or did they assume so because of their breed? Why do we not offer responsible owners opportunity to license their dogs with the city and provide proof of AKC CGC certification? Wouldn’t this be a more positive solution? Where are responsible owner rights in this ordinance? There are none, simply. The rights of responsible owners of these breeds have been denied because of the deemed irresponsible acts of one dog owner in Ridgeland. Some of the same dogs that pass the requirements of the AKC CGC and TDI certifications held at events in our Ridgeland area must be given up. Local shelters are already overrun with abandoned dogs and this creates an even greater problem due to overworked staff and limited space. Most of the dogs will be euthanized except for those that can fit in “no kill” shelters and these, including CARA and Madison ARK, are filled to the rim with abandoned dogs. Is this what we want to happen in our community? Were we trying to add to the shelters’ already enormous problem by throwing away more dogs that cannot be placed? Breed ban alternatives are education and training to provide dog owners with the tools they need to locate responsible, ethical breeders and training ofour dogs to be well-behaved canine citizens. As a citizen who has always been proud of my growing community, I have reconsidered the progressive, positive nature that I believed Ridgeland to be. The Supreme Court of the State of Ohio overturned such legislation in its own state: see the 2004 annual report and search for “State v. Cowan”: http://www.supremecourt.ohio.gov/Publications/default.asp Is our city so behind the times that we are passing outdated, unconstitutional ordinances? Blanket judgments of either dogs or persons within a select group are not ways to give other cities a favorable and positive impression of Ridgeland. Negativity has been spread throughout the canine community by many who are outraged. It is a dark stain on our reputation for such policies to be adopted by our city. I encourage everyone in favor of protecting responsible dog owners’ rights to contact the City of Ridgeland mayor and board of aldermen as well as May 5 candidates. We should seek to protect the rights of law-abiding, responsible citizens. Contacts: http://www.ridgelandms.org/city-government.html Amy in Ridgeland

Author
sunshinek9
Date
2009-03-18T22:18:40-06:00
ID
144929
Comment

Unconstitutional, Lamda? Really? Under which amendment?

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-03-19T09:01:53-06:00
ID
144933
Comment

I noticed that bull terriers are on the list. My half-brother has a bull terrier named Sugar, and she wouldn't hurt a fly. His son grew up with this dog and was never harmed. I really do believe that temperament depends on the individual dog and not the breed. All breeds have docile and aggressive dogs. Blaming it on one or two breeds won't help.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2009-03-19T09:13:57-06:00
ID
144935
Comment

The right to a fair trial as determined by the Ohio State Supreme Court when similar legislation was passed. It was OVERTURNED. It is unconstitutional to remove someone's property without a fair trial to determine whether or not you were liable in the first place. Remember our state's dark history where nothing had to be investigated and word of mouth was taken as fact? What would you do if you were told you can't own a particular boat, car, etc? You'd say it was ridiculous and a violation of your civil rights. And so it is also with the government banning of all dogs within a breed because, in this case, of the complaint of ONE neighbor regarding ONE owner's dogs. Punish the deed not the entire breed! Enforce leash laws that are already in existence and punish the ones who let dogs roam free. See THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF OHIO's decision: http://biotech.law.lsu.edu/cases/dogs/tellings.htm

Author
sunshinek9
Date
2009-03-19T09:31:45-06:00
ID
144936
Comment

i dont give a hoot or even half a hoot about banning dogs. people wanna talk about the sweet pit bulls that love babies. what about the dogs they kill or have killed or the old people they have mauled. the dogs are dangerous. theyre typically more dangerous than a beagle. yeah lease laws should be better enforced. i dont want a pit bull in my neighborhood. theyre not sweet in my experience and just cause they are in yours doesnt mean they are less dangerous to me.

Author
skipp
Date
2009-03-19T09:44:29-06:00
ID
144938
Comment

While I personally think pitbulls are the spawn of Satan :) , the real problem is too many Pits being owned by people who are unfit to care for a goldfish or a human baby, let alone a dog.

Author
Jeff Lucas
Date
2009-03-19T09:54:41-06:00
ID
144940
Comment

amen, Jeff. Skipp, replace "pit bulls" in your comment with any social group and you'll see how flawed your logic is.

Author
vince
Date
2009-03-19T10:00:50-06:00
ID
144942
Comment

Any. dog. is. dangerous. if. it. is. not. treated. right. Do some dogs have a predisposition to be more snappy and aggressive? Sure. But if they are trained properly from an early age, and cared for as any pet should be, the aggression will not be there. I agree with Amy, this is a terrible slap in the face to responsible dog owners.

Author
andi
Date
2009-03-19T10:07:09-06:00
ID
144950
Comment

Agreed, Andi. I don't think anyone can successfully argue against your statement that any mistreated dog can be dangerous. I was attacked by a German Shepard many years ago; it was a friend's dog, not mistreated, but trained as a guard dog. It's a sad fact, though, that pit bulls and similar breeds have jaws strong enough to crush bone; they're bred for those massive jaws. And improperly training pit bulls--unlike improperly trained yorkies--have the potential to kill, and have killed. They have also been connected with illegal gambling and drugs dealing. So what's the alternative, y'all? Do we mandate that all pet owners must provide proper care and training? Certainly animal abuse is already illegal and look how well that's working.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-03-19T10:47:19-06:00
ID
144954
Comment

I think Amy's suggestion about registration/certification would be a great alternative. Keep a registry, and anyone who owns one of the "bad" breeds and doesn't register the dog would be breaking the law; otherwise responsible pet owners will get the dogs licensed/registered/whatever. This would also assist with any loose dogs running around, especially when coupled with microchipping.

Author
andi
Date
2009-03-19T13:05:16-06:00
ID
144955
Comment

I'd like to see sources where Pit Bulls are connected with illegal gambling and drugs dealing. So far as I have seen, only criminals who own the dogs might do such a thing and not the dogs themselves. A responsible dog owner who trains their dogs to be well-behaved and does not participate in illegal dog fighting are lumped together with criminals who gamble and deal drugs because some people do it? I'm not following the reasoning here. Should we be locked up due to the potential of doing wrong or because we have been legally tried in a court of law and proven to have acted in violation of the law personally? Every human has the potential to be criminals but thankfully we are only punished for the choice to actually commit the crime and not the fact that we are physically capable of doing so. If German Shepherd Dogs or Belgian Malinois are deemed to be dangerous, will our K9 Units be euthanized? Let's preserve constitutional rights for our citizens and encourage lawmakers to enforce leash laws and criminal violations of the law. Bias has no place in sound, fair treatment of the public.

Author
sunshinek9
Date
2009-03-19T13:12:08-06:00
ID
144959
Comment

Amen, Andi/Amy. Great idea. I have no problem registering and being held accountable. And as stated earlier, I am convinced that it all has to do with proper training and care... As Cesar Milan says - exercise, discipline, then affection, is the key to enjoying a healthy, well-balanced dog. Many people who own breeds other than a Pit Bull rarely invest the time and work it takes to develop a healthy animal - and with Pit Bulls being the "dog du jour" for so many, it is no wonder that there are so many unbalanced and poorly trained Pits out there. I see so many Pit Bulls and other breeds tied up to a tree or contained in the back yard day after day - with very little, if any, exercise, training, or even affection. As Jennifer said earlier, they are there to be an accessory only. I shudder to think how I would behave if I were treated in such a malicious manner - hell - I have a predisposition to be snappy anyway - this would certainly send me over the edge. I used to think that no dog was sweeter and gentler than my Doberman until I acquired a beautiful caramel colored Pit Bull. He was, like so many others, tied up to a neighbor's tree in their back yard, 24 hours a day. After witnessing this dog barking incessantly for a week and not interacting with anything or anyone, I spoke to my neighbors and told them I would take the dog in, as it was not fair for it to be tied up with no interaction, socialization, training, etc... They said ok, and my journey with a dog that I had never thought I would have or want, began. I threw him into my regular exercise schedule with my other dogs - walking in the morning and romping around in the back yard after work - and initiated some training basics - sit, stay, etc.... He took to all of it famously and never looked back. He has shown no signs of aggression and his demeanor, calm and submissive, is ever-present. He continues to prove to me that my life long prejudice concerning Pit Bulls was ill-conceived and definitely misguided. I enjoy a calm, submissive pack, which includes a Pit Bull, because I want calm, submissive, trained dogs around me. Sadly, this is not the case for many people, especially those with Pit Bulls. Their motives lie elsewhere, and this grim reality continues to diminish this breed and the overall understanding of it. But for every ridiculous Pit Bull owner who perpetuates the Pit Bull myth, there are more owners out there who, like me, consider it their responsibility to invest in the proper exercise and discipline training so that a happy, well balanced dog is created. As I see it, I owe this to my dogs before any other consideration. I hope those who continue to repeat unrealistic generalizations and promote irrational beliefs regarding this breed will reconsider their thoughts and actions and stop perpetuating the Pit Bull myth. This is certainly not fair to the breed... And as a gay man, I know how incredibly destructive uninformed generalizations and irrational beliefs can be.

Author
bryanms
Date
2009-03-19T14:21:57-06:00
ID
144960
Comment

Just playing devil's advocate, Andi. The suggestion sounds reasonable, but how would a registry be enforced? From the other posts on this thread, it sounds like there aren't enough enforcement resources now (for things like leash laws, animal cruelty laws or animal control). Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating for euthanizing anyone's pets or taking away individual freedoms. I do think, however, that sometimes sacrifices have to be made for the common good, and then, somebody always ends up being the bad guy in story. Personally, I don't have a stake in the outcome, but this issue has been around for decades and despite all the good intentions, it remains a serious issue without many practical solutions that aren't offensive or abhorent at some level. It seems like this issue is on par with smoking bans: Not everyone dies from smoking, but communities are putting the greater good ahead of individual's rights to smoke.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-03-19T14:23:08-06:00
ID
144963
Comment

Well, it would need to start with breeders, then the owners of course, whether they get the dog from a breeder or not. Then I would think that veterinarians' offices could also assist in holding owner's accountable and keeping registration info on file (or at least a note in the chart that the dog is or is not registered). And neighbors could also report suspected non-registered dogs. And, local animal shelters and advocacy groups could also have a hand in encouraging registry.

Author
andi
Date
2009-03-19T14:51:44-06:00
ID
144964
Comment

Anyone who loves animals and dogs in particular should know that the problem is not with the animal but with the people who own, train or breed them. The continual in-breeding practiced by so called "Professional Breeders" causes genetic problems for the animal and exacerbates the problem of over population. At puppy mills, dogs are bred for quantity, not quality, so unmonitored genetic defects and personality disorders that are passed on from generation to generation are common. This situation results in high veterinary bills for people who buy these dogs and the possibility that unsociable or maladjusted dogs will be disposed of by their unprepared “owners.” “There is virtually no consideration of temperament,” says one dog trainer. “I wish legislators could sit in my office and watch ... people sobbing in extreme emotional pain over having to decide whether to euthanize their dog because of some serious behavioral problem.” Richard P. Jones, “Panel Weakens Pet Industry Rules,” Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 19 May 2003. Every animal bought from a breeder puts an animal in a shelter to death. I say ban the breeders and their profiteering from animal misery. A few links if anyone needs more proof: http://www.bbc.co.uk/pressoffice/pressreleases/stories/2008/08_august/19/dogs.shtml http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7569064.stm http://www.helpinganimals.com/ga_petstore.asp

Author
WMartin
Date
2009-03-19T14:56:46-06:00
ID
144969
Comment

I'd like to see sources where Pit Bulls are connected with illegal gambling and drug dealing. So far as I have seen, only criminals who own the dogs might do such a thing and not the dogs themselves. You answered your own question, Sunshine, the key word being "connected." Of course the dogs don't do the gambling and dealing. Saying that would be silly, unless you happen to be the guy who paints those god-awful "dogs playing poker" pictures. Here’s what the Humane Society says about dogfighting: Numerous law enforcement raids have unearthed many disturbing facets of this illegal "sport." Young children are sometimes present at the events, which can promote insensitivity to animal suffering, enthusiasm for violence and a lack of respect for the law. Illegal gambling is the norm at dogfights. Dog owners and spectators wager thousands of dollars on their favorites. Firearms and other weapons have been found at dogfights because of the large amounts of cash present. And dogfighting has been connected to other kinds of violence—even homicide, according to newspaper reports. In addition, illegal drugs are often sold and used at dogfights. (Bold emphasis mine.) The point I was trying to make is that people who deal drugs and/or run illegal dog "pit" fights (where people bet on which dog will kill or permanently maim the other one) frequently prefer pit bulls because of the strength of their massive jaws. And it's exactly this kind of behavior--by the owners--that has given the dogs such a bad reputation. I am in no way blaming the dogs! And good for you, bryanms, for being a responsible pet owner. It is a shame that your attitude isn't shared by everyone with pets -- or children, for that matter. I don't have a prejudice against pit bulls specifically, though having been attacked, I'm wary of all large dogs. I am pretty certain, though, that if the dog that attacked me had been a pit bull, she likely would have crushed my shin bone instead of just breaking the skin.

Author
Ronni_Mott
Date
2009-03-19T16:12:02-06:00

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