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Royal City dog owners upset with council
Posted: Wednesday, Dec 20, 2006 - 03:27:43 pm PST

By Candice Boutilier
Herald staff writer

Breed ban affects citizens, state patrol K-9 units

ROYAL CITY -- Royal City dog owners are upset after Tuesday night's council meeting.

The dog ordinance taking effect Jan. 12 bans rottweilers and pit bulls from city limits. It also bans the Washington State Patrol's K-9 Unit comprised of six pit bulls.

Don't even drive through Royal City with a pit bull or a rottweiler inside your vehicle, it will result in a ticket and an impounded dog.

Two dog owners brought their pit bull to the meeting to show its friendly demeanor to the council. Mayor Justin Jenks told them to remove their dog from the council chambers. The dog sat in a vehicle in the parking lot for the majority of the meeting.

"There's a long list of dangerous dogs. Why are you picking on pit bulls and rottweilers when their is a huge list of dangerous dogs," asked dog owner Cindy Bartlett.

In response, Jenks referenced a printout from a Web site.

He referenced 12 canine homicides occurring in the past five months involving rottweilers and pit bulls. None were from Royal City. He wants to prevent a canine homicide from happening in the city, he said.

His answer did not sit well with citizens.

"I can look anything up on the Internet and find the answers I want," Bartlett said. "Don't make a family get rid of a family pet. You should be outlawing dogs who have bit people."

When her fiance, John Schlehuber, served in Iraq, her pit bull took care of her family, she said.

She recalled mornings aroaund 3 a.m. when people she did not know would be knocking on her door trying to get inside but her pit bull would bark and scare the person away.

Dog owners do not think the ordinance will be enforced.

"How are you going to take care of pit bulls if you can't take care of the dog problem in the city," Bartlett asked.

"We're just going to start writing people tickets," Jenks said.

It needs to be an individual effort where all dog owners start to take care of their responsibility, he added.

Bartlett claims to have seen numerous stray dogs of various types of breeds, running around the city. A stray dog, who was not a pit bull or a rottweiler attempted to bite her child when he got off the school bus but the dog was restrained, she said.

Some citizens felt the ordinance affects too many, including those who own dogs who have never offended.

"I have mixed emotions about this, citizen Sharon Chesterman said. "What I really struggle with is that we all have to suffer."

Bartlett said her dog has never bitten anyone although it nipped at someone once at her home. She said the difference between a nip and a bite is a nip is not painful and does not break skin.

A former pit bull owner felt the council was placing responsibility on the wrong people.

"They're trying to put it on the residents to take care of the city's problem, citizen Darla Turner said. "I've had pit bulls, raised them for 26 years. The only reason I don't have one today is because my Buddy died of old age."

The ordinance does not stand in the way of Bartlett.

"I'm not getting rid of my dog," she said.


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