Leader Blues

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

TOP STORY >>Beebe is reluctant to outlaw pit bulls

Leader staff writer

The Beebe City Council did not ban pit bulls Monday night as expected.

Instead the council told the city attorney to draft an ordinance with a grandfather clause that would allow pit bull owners to keep the dogs that are licensed now.

Alderman Janice Petray, who reluctantly agreed that responsible dog owners shouldn’t have to give up their pets, pointed out when the council voted to send the ordinance back for revision that there are only four registered pit bulls in the city limits. So when the ordinance eventually passes, the others should have to go, she said.

Although Horace Taylor, the city’s animal control officer, estimates that there are at least 150 pit bulls in Beebe, fewer than 10 residents attended the meeting to protest passing an ordinance that would have given pit bull owners just 60 days to find new homes for their dogs.

Among the protesters were Randy and Teresa Turner, who have kept pit bulls as pets for more than a decade. The Turners said their eight-month-old pit bull puppy never leaves their home without one of them.

Randy Turner said his pit bulls are no more vicious than any other dogs.

“I know little dogs that will eat you up,” he said.

Jaxie Hepner, who runs the Beebe Humane Society, and Marsa Zakowski, who works with Taylor to find new homes for the dogs he picks up, also attended the meeting and spoke on behalf of pit bull owners who have licensed their dogs and care for them like family members.

In other business:

The council voted to give two small pieces of property beside a drainage ditch in the Kamak subdivision to the owners of the adjoining property. The city hasn’t maintained the property and it isn’t big enough to use for anything, Mayor Mike Robertson told the council.

A city-owned, two-acre pond that has been trouble for Kamak residents since it was dug could eventually be divvied up among the residents who surround it. The pond has always leaked and flooded the surrounding yards. It has now been drained and the mayor said it is being filled with dirt. After the fill dirt has stabilized, the council should consider donating it to the residents, he said.

“It might take us a little while to take care of it, but we’re going to work on it until we get it done,” the mayor said.
The council unanimously passed an ordinance requiring drug tests for city employees.