House Considers Dog Ban Legislation
By Wendy Suares
Cities like Clinton and Richland may have to back off their controversial dog bans under a new bill proposed in the House. It prohibits municipalities from having ordinances that single out specific dog breeds.
A group of dog owners was furious last summer when the city of Clinton banned their Pit Bulls and Rottweilers. Both breeds have a reputation of being vicious.
Efforts to fight the ordinance have landed in court and now the state capitol. "It's a concern to me, but I think it's a local issue," says Rep. Greg Ward.
Ward is on the House committee considering the bill that would prohibit cities and counties from passing or enforcing breed-specific ordinances.
Sen. Richard White represents Clinton. He agrees the issue doesn't belong in the state legislature. "I think the cities are the ones closest to the people," he says. "I don't think the state legislature should be involved in it."
Two separate lawsuits against Clinton's ordinance have been filed in Hinds County Circuit Court. Even supporters of state legislation plan to wait to see how the cases play out in court before taking action at the state capitol.
"The legal system needs to work itself out first, because judges rules have precedence over code sections," says Ward.
Lawmakers will hold off of the bill for now, but supporters say action could prevent future lawsuits across the state as more municipalities consider targetting certain types of dogs.