Leader Blues

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

EDITORIALS>>Rude owners

The Jacksonville City Council made a mistake when it voted to ban pit bulls at its meeting Thursday night.

Instead, aldermen should have banned the rude and crude owners of the pit bulls. That’s right: Keep the dogs and kick out the owners. In 20 years of this newspaper covering city council meetings, the absolute rudeness of these dog owners was some of the worst we’ve seen.

Now, granted it was not all the owners—just like it’s not all the pit bulls doing the biting and attacking—but there were too many making fools of themselves.

The mayor was threatened, an aldermen was told that his neck would be broken if he wrote down the speaker’s address, the whole council was derailed and belittled, and a parent describing a terrible pit-bull attack on his 12-year-old son was instantly attacked by a number of owners claiming it was his fault for not being outside with the boy.

Alderman Reedie Ray called it right, saying the actions of one of those in attendance were enough to make him vote for the ban.

Dogs do have their own personalities, but they also feed off their owners, and with the amount of disrespect and hate shown to the council—we are surprised these dogs aren’t ravaging the city.

Kudos go to Mayor Tommy Swaim—whom we are often at odds with—for keeping his demeanor and cool and trying his best to allow the opposition to speak. Out of the 45 minutes he gave the opposition, half that time was spent on babbling, threats and points that had nothing to do with the issue. The opposition was its own worst enemy.

One opposition speaker accused Alderman Bob Stroud of already having his mind made up. Of course he had his mind made up to ban the dogs: He was the one who brought the ordinance to the council. He is allowed to have his mind already made up.

But most of the other aldermen were open to discussion, and two even voiced opposition to the idea of a ban, but finally voted for it, more because of the actions of the mob rather than the actions of the dogs.