Sunday, May 21, 2017

PHOTOS ADDED - Tennessee: Pit bull owners in Jasper could face new regulations

Originally posted on May 15, but I didn't have any photos to go with the article.

TENNESSEE -- City officials are reviewing a proposed ordinance that requires pit bull owners to get a $100,000 insurance policy and register their animals in Jasper, Tennessee.

Officials said the number of complaints about the breed have gone up along with pit bull ownership, after similar restrictions and bans on the breed in neighboring communities.

"I don't feel that I should have to go outside of my means to purchase anything extra when my dogs do not leave my yard," said resident Jessica Huggins.

Huggins is speaking up for her rescued pit bulls who have not bitten anyone or been in trouble (yet). She says her dogs could fall under new breed regulations which aim to keep all pit bulls and pit mixes confined too.

"If they leave, they're on a leash and they're not a threat to society," said Huggins. "I should not have to spend that extra money to make someone else feel comfortable."

The push for legislation comes after a recent spike in calls about the breed. There are leash laws in place but officials say they're not working.

"The dogs break their chains or get loose and attack other dogs," said Chief Billy Mason, Jasper Police Department.

Animal Control Officer, Justin Baker tells Channel 3 that other dogs have been seriously hurt or killed from pit bulls running at large. He says he has even ran from the breed himself while out answering calls.

"Another case here lately, the dog was actually on a chain in his yard when another dog came up and the pit bull actually killed the other dog," said Baker.

If passed, the ordinance gives pit owners about 30 days notice to comply with getting insurance and the proper confinement Chief Mason says he isn't against the breed, he just wants all pet owners to be responsible.

"If your wanting to treat that dog as your family member and it's loving on your kids... that doesn't mean it's going to love on every single thing so be responsible for your dog," said Chief Billy Mason, Jasper Police Dept.

Channel 3 asked Mayor Paul Evans for a copy of the proposed ordinance, but he refused saying the wording of it is still being revised. The Mayor told Channel 3 that he was unavailable for an interview on Monday, but he agreed to provide a statement by email. The mayor's statement has not been received.

"How can responsible pit bull owners be prepared for this ordinance when no one will release any information," said Huggins.


There will be a public hearing June 12th at 6:00 p.m at the Annex building in Jasper. If you are interested in speaking, you must be a resident of the city of Jasper and request to be put on the agenda for that meeting.

There have been no reports of anyone being bitten or physically attacked by a pit bull in the city of Jasper, but officials say a large majority of calls to Animal Control involve the breed running at large or attacking other animals.



(WRCB - May 15, 2017)

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