Leader Blues

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

TOP STORY >>Pit bull ban is now in full effect

Leader staff writer

Time has run out for pit bulls in Jacksonville.

The ordinance banning the breed had a 30-day grace period to allow pit bull owners in the city to register, microchip and spay or neuter their dogs and that grace period expired Tuesday.

Any unregistered pit bull will now be forced to leave the city or be euthanized. The ordinance bans all pit bulls, most bulldogs or any mixed breed that is predominantly pit bull.

Banned dogs already in the city will be allowed to stay if the owner can show proof that the animal was licensed before the new ordinance going into effect, has proof of rabies vaccination and the owner is at least 21—and then has the dog spayed or neutered, registered and has a licensed veterinarian implant a computer chip into the animal for identification and to help track the pit bull.

Also, the only time a pit bull or bulldog may be brought into the city is for the purpose of veterinary care, special-event dog shows sanctioned by the city or for use by law enforcement or military personnel as part of their duties, according to the ordinance.

The cost to neuter or spay and microchip a pit bull runs about $300, according to local veterinarians who have been swamped with pit bull owners trying to comply with the new ordinance. Dr. Craig Boyd, of Boyd Veterinary Clinic, has seen more pit bulls recently than he usually sees in a year.

Cassandra Kenney, with Dr. Tom Eubanks’ practice, said they have been seeing about four pit bulls a day since the ordinance became law and that number has increased lately. “Most of the owners are understanding about the new ordinance. The ones most upset are the owners who have just moved here,” Kenney said.

An employee at Dr. Lee Misak’s Jacksonville Animal Hospital said they have been swamped with pit bull appointments and that most owners were complying, but not happy about the requirements.

Cheryl Wood, with the Animal Control Department, said if an unregistered pit bull is picked up, the owner will have to pay a $100 fine, have the dog spayed or neutered, micro-chipped and still move it out of town.

If a registered pit bull is caught running loose or involved in an attack, the owner will have to pay a $100 fine and move the dog out of the city.

If the owner does not claim the pit bull or the owner refuses to comply with the requirements, the dog will be euthanized.
Animal control officers have already seen an increase of loose pit bulls and had five in the shelter Tuesday.

“We fear some owners are just letting them loose so they don’t have to deal with the new ordinance,” Wood said.
For details about the ban or questions about registering a pit bull, call animal control at 982-2916.