Will pit bull dog law go into effect?

Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard
Bobby Coleman, Ward II City Commissioner
Bobby Coleman, Ward II City Commissioner

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Support for tough new rules for pit bull owners in Albany may be slipping.  City commissioners initially approved the ordinance, but it needs a second vote to take effect. Two new commissioners just took office, and they don't support the proposal.

City leaders have been bombarded with calls since the measure was introduced, and they may tweak it.  A proposal before city leaders would make dogs like this, commonly classified as pit bulls, automatically considered dangerous dogs.

"I do know we need something in this city because I can't have people calling me who are afraid to walk down their alley, or are afraid to be in their own yards," said Mayor Dorothy Hubbard.

The ordinance drafted by the city attorney would require pit bull owners to get a $100,000 liability insurance policy, and fully enclosed dog pens no less than 25 feet from property lines.  Some say it's too much.

"I don't agree with putting undue burden on people that's already being strained for financial reason.  It's... for the insurance or whatever.   I just don't agree with that," said Bobby Coleman, Ward II City Commissioner.

Commissioner Coleman and Ward III Commissioner B. J. Fletcher took office after the ordinance was introduced.  Neither likes the existing proposal because of cost to owners and questions about enforcement.

"Dog lovers don't want it to happen.  People that fear the dog will be glad to see it happen, so we got reach that middle ground to see what we can come up with that everyone can live with," said Coleman.

They may instead favor non-breed specific regulation, and they may not be alone. "What for me the discussion still says is that there are people out there who are afraid of dogs.  And when that fear gets into people, then it doesn't matter what breed it is," said Mayor Hubbard.

Protecting public safety, she said, is the most important thing.  The mayor's office has received calls from all over the country about the proposal.

Commissioners are expected to revisit the issue at their next meeting.

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