Saturday, December 17, 2016

New Mexico: Some residents call for pit bull ban in Edgewood

NEW MEXICO -- On Nov. 6 there was a dog attack in the Square H subdivision in Edgewood. In response to that incident, the residents of that subdivision have proposed changes to Edgewood’s animal ordinance.

These proposed changes were presented to the Edgewood Town Council at its Dec. 7 meeting.

“These are the recommendations from those that spoke and not the recommendations from the town. I do not know fully what they will bring as far as proposed changes,” Edgewood Police Chief Ron Crow said via email.

Crow added that the town staff has identified some areas for improvement in the current ordinance and is looking at all the information on the law including localized statistics.

“We are making every effort to ensure that the needs of the community are met as well as looking after the welfare of the animals. This has been a topic of great debate in our community and by no means do we want this to become a ‘public degrading’ of select animals and their owners,” Crow said.

First of the residents to speak was Edgewood resident Timothy Fleming.

“A recent attack on two pet dogs and a person in our neighborhood and the subsequent response by the animal control authorities to mitigate the future danger posed by attacking dogs have convinced us that changes must be made in order for our community to be a safe place for our families,” Fleming said.

Among the ideas that Fleming and other residents propose would be to ban Molosser dog breeds that are known for being dangerous. Molosser breeds include pit bull terriers, bull dogs, mastiffs and others.

They also would like the council to modify the multiple animal permit of 10 animals per household to a lower number; they would like a provision for owners of Molosser breed dogs to have a 10-foot high enclosure for their dogs that may include a top closure and they would like a modification to the definition of dangerous dog as it reads in the animal ordinance.

According to court documents, on Nov. 6 in the Square H subdivision, an suspected pit bull terrier and other dogs attacked a resident and his dogs while the resident and his wife were taking a walk. The resident had a minor cut to one of his fingers.

The resident who owned the dogs involved in the alleged attack has been in compliance with a sentence that was handed down by Edgewood Municipal Judge William White according to Crow.

The sentence included building a fence to keep their dogs in, reimbursing the victim of any veterinary bills, paying court costs and other requirements, according to court documents.

The dog that was determined to be the main actor in the alleged attack was ordered to be licensed as a potentially dangerous animal, according to court documents.

“The biggest injury wasn’t to (the victim’s) finger, it was to you all’s sense of well-being in your neighborhood,” Edgewood Mayor John Bassett said.

A call for public hearing has been placed on the Dec. 21 council meeting agenda.

In 2006, an Edgewood boy was attacked and seriously wounded by both a pit bull terrier and a St. Bernard. Both dogs were euthanized.

A neighbor of the boy said at the time that she wished that the town would ban pit bulls.

Two years earlier, then-Mayor Robert Stearley wanted to enact a pit bull ban after a dog was attacked by a pit bull terrier.

(Mountain View Telegraph - Dec 14, 2016)

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