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Show Low considers a ban on pit bulls

Discussion in 'Laws & Legislation' started by Marty, Jan 11, 2005.

  1. Marty

    Marty Guest

    Phoenix, AZ -- The Show Low City Council is considering what could be one of the strictest pit bull laws in the nation, banning ownership and sale of new pit bulls.

    During a meeting tonight, the council will weigh its proposed ban on the animals, called "Annilee's Law." It's named after 5-year-old Annilee McKinnon, who was mauled and killed by three pit bulls within city limits Dec. 13.

    The owner of the dogs, Janice Caulkins, 38, and her mother, Katherine, 64, were arrested on second-degree murder warrants.

    The proposed ordinance grandfathers in, with tough restrictions, those who own pit bulls within the White Mountains city.

    Pit bulls are defined under the ordinance as American pit bull terriers, Staffordshire terriers, Staffordshire bull terriers or any dog "displaying the majority of physical traits" of those breeds.

    The draft form of the ordinance requires that all pit bull owners be 21 or older, that the animals be spayed and registered with the city, that owners have at least $100,000 of liability insurance to cover the acts of their dogs and that all pit bull puppies born after the ordinance takes effect be killed.

    Ownership of pit bulls also could be transferred only within immediate families. An annual $50 pit bull fee would be enacted and each of the animals would have to be tagged and tattooed with a registration number. The dogs also would have to be confined in secure structures on the owners' property with signs that state "Pit Bull Dog" with the letters no less than 2 inches high.

    The ordinance is modeled after the one on the books in Denver, which Daisy Okas, a spokeswoman for the American Kennel Club, said is believed to be the toughest anti-pit bull law in the country.

    "That Denver ordinance caused a big storm, and we are opposed to any law that targets a specific breed," Okas said. "The laws need to address people and their actions, not the dogs."

    Okas also said that policing the blood quantum of dogs in determining if they are more than 50 percent pit bull would cause "enforcement nightmares" for Show Low.

    Show Low Councilwoman Anne Staffnik agreed with that argument against the proposed ordinance.

    "I think all of this is kind of a natural reaction to this type of tragedy that we've had," Staffnik said. "But I'm worried about the enforcement of this and how to determine if a dog is truly a pit bull.

    "I think we may want to consider hitting the owners of pit bulls even harder where it hurts the most, in the pocketbook."

    Mayor Rick Fernau, a proponent of the pit bull ban, did not return telephone messages Monday.

    The ordinance likely will be voted on by the council at its meeting next Tuesday.

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