Beebe to ban pit bulls next month
By Warren Watkins
The Daily Citizen
BEEBE — The city council has banned vicious dogs in general and those known popularly as “pit bulls” in particular.
Beginning Aug. 23, American Pit Bull Terriers, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and American Staffordshire Terriers, any dog with blood from those breeds, or dogs deemed vicious are illegal to possess within the Beebe city limits. Dogs that were registered with the city before July 23, the day the council approved the ban, will be “grandfathered” in under certain stringent regulations.
Only 10 pit bulls were registered in time to be allowed as exceptions, and those owners will be required, before Aug. 23, to show their dogs are up to date with their vaccinations and have a microchip implanted under the dog’s skin so that an electronic reader can retrieve identity information from the dog. Owners must also be non-felons living in a single-family dwelling and must spay or neuter the animal, buy $100,000 in liability insurance, and supply the city with three photographs of their pet.
Fences must be installed for those dogs, but that deadline is Sept. 23. Large dogs must be provided 850 square feet of pen space, medium dogs 650 square feet and small dogs 150 square feet. No dog may be legally tethered or chained with the Beebe city limits.
“We don’t have any more attacks with pit bulls than any other breed,” Beebe Chief of Police Don Inns said.
Horace Taylor, who is also a White County Justice of the Peace, is the city’s Animal Control Officer who recently picked up a pit bull for a second time in a month that was roaming free in the city streets. Taylor said he knows the dog’s owner.
That particular animal displayed a gentle but enthusiastic disposition at the Beebe Animal Shelter, located 2.5 miles east of Beebe just across the Lonoke County line, on Monday.
“It was out running around in a neighborhood,” Taylor said of the dog. “You see his ears are cut off. When they cut their ears off it’s with the idea of them being a fighter.”
That dog is not one of the registered animals that will be grandfathered in.
Fines for having an illegal dog are $500 plus $250 a day for each day the dog remains in the city. Illegal dogs that are taken into custody will be put up for adoption, but the chances of a pit bull being adopted are slim, Inns said.
The ordinance allows a court order to be issued for individual dogs to be put down.
Puppies less than 10 weeks old on July 23 are not included in the ban until they reach the age of 10 weeks.
Dogs being transported to, from or being treated by a veterinarian are not illegal.
Owners of dogs that are deemed vicious or of pit bull blood will be given seven days to remove them from the city before being cited.
Taylor has been instructed to purchase more pens for what he expects to be an influx of illegal dogs into the shelter.
“I can tell you where there’s a house with three grown pit bulls and 10 puppies,” Taylor said.