Sheriff wants to ban pit bulls, county commission resists - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff wants to ban pit bulls, county commission resists

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

January 14, 2008

THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) - Thomas County leaders push back against a proposal to outlaw pit bulls.

The Sheriff there called for a ban on the breed after a 5-year-old girl was mauled and killed by her family's three pit bulls.

County commissioners and humane society officials say a total ban is unrealistic.

"We do not feel it would be right to just tell everybody that has a pit bull that they must get rid of them," said Vice-Chair Elaine Mays.

Mays said she highly doubts the board will support the Sheriff's request, but that a new ordinance with stricter regulations is likely.

"We are going to look at different ordinances from Miami, Ohio, any place that has ordinances about dangerous dogs and see if we can come up with something that will work for us," said Mays.

Right now the only dog law Thomas County has is a leash law. Which basically means a dog should always remain on it's owners property, or always be under control of it's owner by a leash or voice command. But even that law as it stands only applies to residential areas.

Some ideas in the works for the new ordinance are requiring pet owners to register their animals, enforce rabies shots, keep dogs fenced in at all times, and prohibit tethering.

"If you chain a dog 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, that dog becomes mean," said Carol Jones, Executive Director of the Thomas County Humane Society.

"I think we all feel that banning one certain dog breed will lead to...what breed is next....what breed is next? So I don't think that we're looking at banning any specific breed," said Mays.

Mays said the board doesn't want to take away people's right to own a dog. The Sheriff argues that last week, keeping pit bulls around, jeopardized a child's right to live.

A debate that will likely always continue as long as the breed is around. Feedback

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