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Old 07-01-2014, 11:55 PM   #1 (permalink)
Educate, Don't legislate
 
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White Pine, Tennessee amends 26-year old ban on pit bulls

Disappointing (yet hopeful) news out of White Pine, Tennessee.

We learned in March 2014 that the small town of White Pine, Tennessee was considering repealing their long-standing ordinance banning the ownership of “pit bulls” in the city limits.

Unaware of the ban enacted in 1988, and after moving to White Pine with a dog that met the physical characteristics of a “pit bull” as defined by the city code, a dog owner was cited by police for violating the ordinance. That resident brought the issue of repealing the breed specific law to the city council. Public hearings were held on the matter, and the proposal was received positively.

When I spoke with the Town Recorder earlier this year, she advised that prior to the formal move by the council to review the ordinance, city officials were already aware of the problems associated with the existing ordinance, specifically the difficulty of identifying what is or is not a pit bull dog.

Despite this acknowledgment, however, the city opted not to repeal the breed specific language in the ordinance, but rather, to amend the ordinance to allow pit bull-type dogs to reside in the city limits if their owners adhere to specific restrictions.

Ordinance 2-14, §10-204 declares “any pit bull terrier” as a “vicious dog,” and under this section, defines a pit bull terrier as:

Any American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier breed of dog, or any mixed breed of dog which contains an element of its breeding the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier as to be identifiable as partially of the breed of American Pit Bull Terrier or Staffordshire Bull Terrier or American Staffordshire Terrier.

The new ordinance provides that “vicious dogs” must be confined in a locked pen or structure with a secure top and embedded no less than one foot in the ground; and leashed and muzzled while off the owner’s property.

In addition, owners of “vicious dogs” must post signage indicating there is a vicious dog on the premises; and obtain and provide proof of liability insurance in the amount of $100,000 to the Town Recorder.

Even though the preamble of the amended ordinance states “certain behaviors of dog owners contribute to dangers associated with vicious dogs,” the city still chose to single out and penalize responsible dog owners simply because of the physical appearance of their dog.

That being said, while it wasn’t the change White Pine residents were seeking, they did succeed in bringing about positive change in the city, and I hope they view the amendment to the 26-year-old outright ban on pit bulls as an accomplishment, as well as an excellent starting point for a campaign to end to breed specific legislation for good in White Pine at some point in the future.
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Old 07-02-2014, 03:06 AM   #2 (permalink)
 

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I am experiencing issues of the same sort in another small town in TN! Although there isn't a complete ban, the city ordinance is very similar to what you have explained above in the changes of White Pine! Because I am also required to provide proof of liability insurance, i had to go through a fiasco with my insurance company (homeowners) policy. After switching from an ignorant insurance company who knows nothing about BSL. This company decided to drop my coverage because i took in a 4 month old pitbull puppy! After days of searching, i was able to find Farmers Insurance company, who does not have a Breed Specific clause and views that a dog is a dog and any dog of any breed has the propensity to bite if provoked.

Needless to say, after switching Insurance companies and the headache that was: I was able to obtain a $300,000 liability inclusion for Boomer (pit puppy). Farmers insurance has been nothing but a blessing and my agent even sent me a certificate of liability coverage that specifies my pit puppy by name, breed, and amount of coverage. Once I had this certificate, i went to register him at city hall according to our city ordinance! After providing shot records, pictures, vet records and proof of ownership, i asked if they needed a copy of the liability certificate! I was given a response of, "although it is required, it is illegal for us as a city government to force you to obtain it and show proof!".... REALLY???!!???

Long story short, I haven't found the exact case law on this and if it is strictly for the State of Tennessee or if there is a Supreme Court case ruling that specifies this legislation on a local government requiring liability insurance. Regardless, i needed to be covered just in case and it was worth the switch because my farmers agent was very understanding and claim they get that all of the time!
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Old 07-03-2014, 10:42 AM   #3 (permalink)
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3x Donated to pbp 1x Bitch in a box! 4x Donated to get Indigo and Cree out of florida 1x Devonte\'s harness fund
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White Pine is very local to Circle M and myself, like maybe 15 minutes drive depending which route you take. This is good news as before i was afraid to drive through WP with one of my dogs for fear of being stopped and my dog taken.
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:31 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Wow Bev that's great!! Baby steps baby steps!!

B-rad I'm so glad you're able to find coverage that worked for you!


Sent from Petguide.com App so please excuses the typos
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"There are two temptations to which people fall prey with dogs. The first is to think that biology counts for everything. The second is to think it counts for nothing"
- Tom Junod

“When you KNOW better you DO better.”
― Maya Angelou


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