-- A student group formed to fight the passage of breed-specific legislation will make a second appearance at Florence County Council’s regular meeting Thursday.
Kayley Green, Jamie Thomas, Emily Nance, Jeremy Romanyzyn and Aliyah Roberts, all eighth-grade students at Southside Middle School, will represent the group of middle school students who came up with a presentation on why breed-specific legislation is wrong as a class project in 2007.
Those students who will speak to council were selected by a vote of their peers.
Other students who are a part of the project include Carla Campbell, Brittany Chapman, Shaina Clingempeel, Andrew Dempewolf, Jessica DuBose, Becky Fuller, DeQuane Gurley, Austian Jernigan, Hunter Jordan, Colby Kennedy, Connor Lentz, Todd Luikart, Zac Manos, Alicia Robinson, Christopher Ruggiero, Takayla Sharper, Camri Stevens, Liam Tindall and Harley Watford.
Breed-specific legislation prohibits someone from owning, breeding or raising certain types of dogs. It hasn’t been considered by members of the Florence County Council.
But Brian Harvey, a social studies teacher at Southside, said the group of students notified him of a recent attempt to get Scranton town officials to consider banning pit bulls.
In February, Ernestine Haselden, a Scranton resident, asked town officials to consider a ban on “pit bull-type dogs.” She also is scheduled to speak to council Thursday.
The student group has put together a presentation on why the legislation is wrong, how it violates one’s rights, how it’s inhumane and the cost to enforce it.
Harvey said the students have updated the information to include more research on failed attempts to pass breed-specific legislation across the country. The presentation includes ways to prevent that type of legislation.
Instead of banning certain breeds of dogs, the students propose implementing canine safety education programs in schools and offering responsible canine ownership classes to pet owners.
Stronger laws also should be adopted by city and county governments.
Harvey said he’s proud that the students have have continued to follow the issue.
“These kids are so motivated and they’re great learners,” he said. “They did an amazing job last year and they’re always trying to excel and stand up for what they believe in. I can’t say enough about these kids.”
Harvey said when you don’t understand something, humans’ natural reaction is to destroy it.
“I believe this is one of those cases,” he said. “The beliefs of a few are trying to strip the rights of a majority.
“That’s an injustice to everybody that is a respectable, decent (and) law-abiding dog owner, no matter what the breed.”
Students to present opposition to breed-specific bills | SCNow