Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

June 21, 2013

City says it may put more bite in vicious dog ordinance

No breed specific ban sought at this time

Mike James
The Independent

ASHLAND — The city plans to strengthen enforcement of Ashland’s vicious animal ordinance.

Several commissioners and Mayor Chuck Charles said so during their Thursday meeting. Their comments followed presentations by a woman whose dog was killed recently by a neighbor’s pit bull and by an animal activist who urged commissioners not to ban specific dog breeds.

“We’re talking about beefing up the ordinance, commissioner Marty Gute said. “We love dogs, but we can’t allow irresponsible owners to be a nuisance.”

Enforcement of licensing requirements also is coming, according to commissioner Cheryl Spriggs. “We’ll get more aggressive on that,” she said.

Lorie Akers, whose chihuahua was killed by a neighbor’s pit bull earlier this month, asked the commission to target people who don’t keep their animals under control. She said dogs in some neighborhoods are chasing children and harassing adults.

“But people don’t care,” she said. She asked commissioners to “hit people where it hurts, in the wallet.”

Earlier in the week, Akers said she planned to seek a ban on pit bulls in the city, but on Thursday she told commissioners she no longer favored the ban.

Instead, she urged stronger penalties for ordinance violations and more stringent enforcement.

“We are currently reviewing our ordinance,” Charles said.

Animal activist Krista Jolly-All, who said she is a pit-bull owner, urged commissioners not to consider banning the breed or any specific breed. “Punish the deed, not the breed,” she said.

Breed bans are not effective in reducing attacks because the problem lies with irresponsible pet owners, she said.

She suggested holding owners accountable for spaying and neutering and keeping their animals restrained and under supervision.

She called for emphasis on responsible breeding and enforcement of leash laws.

“There has been no discussion with this commission on banning pit bulls,” Spriggs said.

She suggested a citizen task force to tackle the issue.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.