Controversial Pit Bull Ordinance equals safety, punishment - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Controversial Pit Bull Ordinance equals safety, punishment

Posted: Updated:
Wes Smith, Assistant City Manager Wes Smith, Assistant City Manager
Steve Kender, Pit Bull Owner Steve Kender, Pit Bull Owner
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

An Albany man says a controversial pit bull ordinance could keep him and his therapy dog from helping others.

City leaders are reviewing proposed strict new rules for pit bulls and their owners.

Critics say the ordinance would unfairly punish responsible dog owners.

Steve Kender and his 8 year old Staffordshire Bull Terrier named Georgia have been helping the sick for years.

"When we go to the hospital or nursing home, she does just like what she's doing to you- she goes around and visits everybody," said Kender.

Georgia is a therapy dog with Pet Partners and lifts the spirits of the injured or those fighting disease.

"The purpose is to help people feel better and to relax them," notes Kender. "And it does work."

But a new ordinance would classify the pit bull as a dangerous dog and may force her to retire.

The ordinance requires fully enclosed dog pens for pit bulls that must be 25 feet away from property lines.
Owners will also need a $100,000 liability insurance policy.

Some say the measure is costly and will lead to abandoned animals.

"The dogs that will be turned loose out in the streets what will be tortured, many of them will be killed," said Kender. "Some [are] grabbed up and fought, used as bait dogs."

City leaders say the ordinance improves public safety.

"I think it boils down to two things. Pit bulls are a fairly small percentage of the population of dogs," said Assistant City Manager Wes Smith. "They are definitely a much higher percentage of the events."

One Commissioner suggested a basket muzzle for pits as a cheaper alternative.

"You can't go into a hospital with a therapy dog with a muzzle on it, you know," said Kender.

Kinder says growing opposition to the measure could create backlash for its supporters. 

"The people who vote for this if they vote for this are gonna be held responsible next time there's an election, I can tell you that," said Kender.

He suggests a non-breed specific ordinance instead to prevent hurting owners and loving dogs like Georgia.

 

Copyright 2014 WALB.  All rights reserved.