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Alderman vote to develop pit bull ordinance

By Cassandra Mickens (Contact) | The Natchez Democrat
Published Wednesday, February 24, 2010

NATCHEZ - Fearing for the life of his young son, Phillip Stokes addressed the Natchez Board of Aldermen Tuesday regarding four neighborhood pit bulls whose barks and growls are unsettling.
Stokes, who lives along West Stiers Lane, said he and other residents are wary of a particular neighbor's seemingly unruly pit bulls.
"(The pit bulls) pinpoint the child, and bark and jump at the fence," said Stokes as his son, Phillip Stokes Jr., stood quietly by his side. "There is no law in place concerning vicious animals on the books, and I'm approaching the board to deal with the situation for the children, older citizens and people in general.
Stokes cited the death of 5-year-old Anataisa Bingham of Terry, who was killed during a pit bull attack earlier this month. Stokes also cited a pit bull attack against Beverly Gremillion of Natchez. Gremillion was attacked by a pit bull earlier this month after suffering a seizure on Maplewood Lane.
"We don't have to look to Terry to make a decision," Stokes said. "We had a situation here too.
"I feel we should treat this seriously because it's getting out of hand."
Mayor Jake Middleton assured Stokes the board would enact an ordinance to address pit bulls and other vicious animals.
Alderwoman Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis then made a motion to develop an ordinance, which was seconded by Alderman James "Ricky" Gray. The motion passed unanimously.
"A lot of us hear about these things, and when you put a face to it, we see what the real dangers are," Alderman Dan Dillard said. "There should be enough precedence across the country to put together this ordinance."
Gray said the board should develop the ordinance immediately, and suggested pit bulls be banned from parades.
Stokes mentioned in his address to the board parade spectators sometimes bring their pit bulls along.
"The demeanor of the people (at the parade) changed to fear because of this dog," Stokes said.
Alderman Ernest "Tony" Fields agreed with Gray, saying the board should pen an ordinance soon.
"We don't need to drag our feet with this," Fields said.

City of Natchez, Mississippi
Mayor Jake Middleton
City Hall, 124 S. Pearl St., Natchez, MS 39120
(601) 445-7555
[email protected]
Joyce Arceneaux-Mathis, Alderwoman, Ward One
James "Ricky" Gray, Alderman, Ward Two
Bob Pollard, Alderman, Ward Three, [email protected]
Tony Fields, Alderman, Ward Four
Mark Fortenbery Alderman, Ward Five
Temple Hendricks, Assistant to the Mayor, [email protected]
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