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Garland County, AR

Posted: Wed Sep 19, 2012 8:18 am
by heather
The Garland County Quorum Court’s Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee met before an overflowing crowd Monday night to hear testimony about the causes and solutions to the county’s vicious dog problems. Most of those testifying urged the county to prosecute irresponsible pet owners but not ban pit bulls or any specific breed from the county.

No decision was made last night. The meeting was only a forum to garner community opinion. County officials will now form a community subcommittee to address this issue and make recommendations to county leaders.

Please continue to reach out to the Garland County officials with your opposition to breed specific legislation, as well as viable alternatives and suggestions for their consideration. In reaching out to any public official on this issue, you are representing pit bull owners as a whole. I cannot stress the importance of maintaining professional and respectful communications with officials at all times.

Contact information for the Garland County officials can be found at this link: ... pit-bulls/

Garland County Hosts Public Meeting on "Vicious and Dangerous Dogs"

By: Marci Manley, KARK 4 News

Updated: September 17, 2012

"Otis personally has never done anything to anybody," she said, as the dog rolled over stretching for a scratch on the stomach. "But I can be out walking in the neighborhood, and I'll have people stop me and ask me, 'Aren't you afraid of that dog?'"

Ashleigh Mayes feels like a lot of folks are always waiting for her pit bull mix, Otis, to make the wrong step.

"These guys [pit bulls] aren't the only ones that bite, you know. I guess that's really my big thing," she said.

Mayes is worried a recent string of pit bull attacks could lead Garland County officials to ban her best friend.

"I really think anyone who is a responsible dog owner needs to be concerned about one breed being banned," she said. "Because I mean you're just one dog attack away from it being the breed of your dog."

The Garland County courtroom, packed with people and opinions Monday night.

"We are not voting tonight to ban pit bulls from the county. Let me be clear," said Justice of the Peace Mary Bournival.

The public meeting was held to discuss "vicious and dangerous dogs," according to the agenda, and what additional regulations are needed.

"As you know, we've had several pit bull attacks in the county," Bournival said. "What we have now in the county obviously falls short of protecting the people. So no, it does not go far enough."

Bournival put gruesome pictures of disfiguration on display during the meeting.

"These photos are disturbing," she told the standing room only crowd. "If you don't want to see them, I suggest you turn away. These are not strangers from across America. These are our neighbors, friends, our family members."

Bournival, adding during her opening statement that some dogs like pit bulls are simply more aggressive and should be recognized as such.

"People who own these dogs are not getting these dogs for having a sweet and gentle nature," she said, to which a round of yells were issued from the audience.

Owners like Mayes, obviously disagree.

"I have a hedgehog that I'm more afraid of than this guy," Mayes said. "Dogs aren't mean unless they are exposed to that. Unless they are treated badly, unless that's all they know."

Bournival, despite her perspective on aggressive breeds, said everyone should be heard in the discussion, including pit bull owners and those on the bandwagon for a ban.

"We need to take all of those into consideration to make a reasonable, enforceable ordinance," she said. "I will tell you none of the justices are fans of breed-specific regulations. But we can't take that off the table. If it comes down to that as being necessary, that would be something we would discuss in the future."

Mayes is hoping all sides will be heard in the debate, and that education and moderation will play a role.

"I think it comes down to leash laws, and fencing laws. I think it's about education and responsible pet ownership. I think more penalties for those that abuse animals could help. Because again, any dog is capable of biting and attacking, but the ones that do, I think are the ones that have been mistreated.

"I absolutely believe every voice matters," she added. "And I hope that's the case here in Garland County."

The comments from the public will be considered by a committee of law enforcement, veterinarians, and justices of the peace to present to the quorum court for a vote at a later date.

Re: Garland County, AR

Posted: Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:12 pm
by heather
Garland County residents came out in force at the council meeting this week, and I have no doubt they will continue to be active in assisting the council in crafting a new ordinance. In the meantime, we can all send letters encouraging the council to draft an ordinance that is fair and benefits the safety and welfare of all members of the community - humans and animals alike.

In that regard, as a general rule of thumb, its best not to use form letters when contacting officials. Several websites offer talking points that you can incorporate into your own personalized letter. You know why you oppose breed specific ordinances, and as long as you keep your communications professional and respectful, its always best to let your words be guided by your personal beliefs and position on an issue.

Contact information for the Garland County, Arkansas officials can be found at this link: ... pit-bulls/

Stronger dog law possible by year’s end

By: Jim Newsom - The Sentinel-Record

Garland County could have a strengthened vicious dog ordinance by the end of the year, District 4 Justice of the Peace Mary Bournival said Tuesday.

The Garland County Quorum Court’s Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee conducted a two-hour hearing Monday night to garner public opinion about ways to curb pit bull and other vicious dog attacks in the county.

Bournival said Tuesday that the enhanced ordinance could “mirror” the city of Hot Spring’s animal control laws.

Bournival, who spearheaded the adoption of the county’s revised animal control ordinance in 2011, did not specify how the two ordinances might compare.

She said Monday night that the 2011 ordinance “fell short” of remedying the county’s vicious dog problem.

Bournival said the Public Health, Welfare and Safety Committee will likely meet in the next week or so to discuss Monday night’s meeting.

“We will be sitting together, going over all the ideas that people were putting forth,” she said.

Bournival said Tuesday that it was “really encouraging” that those who attended Monday night’s meeting “are promoting the idea of a leash law or some type of containment on the owner’s property.”

“I think that’s a big shift in the wind, so to speak, for the county because they’ve fought even the idea of a leash law. That was really encouraging. Without exception, people supported the idea of having some form of leash law.”

Bournival speculated that some of those at Monday night’s hearing “were ready for a fight.” But she said, “When these people walked out, they realized that we are earnestly trying to seek an enforceable, measured ordinance that’s set for public safety.

“We don’t have an ordinance yet, but I think we’re on the way to having something that the entire community will support and will be effective by the time we get it written,” she said.

Bournival said the “question at this point is determining how that leash law is going to look.”

“Are we going to be talking about simply putting the dogs on leashes if they leave their yard? Are we taking about fencing? What’s acceptable as far as leash laws are concerned?” Bournival asked.

She said the acceptability factor pertains to both the owners of vicious dogs and to the public.

“Are we going to say an acceptable leash law is requiring an owner to have their dogs put on a chain 24/7 with no human contact other than when they go out and feed and water them? In most people’s minds that’s abuse,” Bournival said.

She said acceptable containment of pit bull dogs and other vicious species of canines can also include electronic fences.

Bournival said a citizen’s advisory committee composed of veterinarians, county officials and law enforcement personnel has been formed to develop a “responsible ordinance” to deal with the county’s vicious dog problem. She said the various types of pit bull containment options must be discussed during the ordinance-development process.

“I think that by including veterinarians, pet therapy people, animal trainers, bringing those people together as a community, we will structure a very sound ordinance in the end,” she said.

Bournival said Robert Miller, a pit bull breeder who addressed Monday night’s meeting, is forming a committee of pit bull breeders to “discuss what they believe the county should be doing for public safety.”

“I want to solicit the support of everyone, including the people who have these dogs,” she said.

She said Miller would report to the advisory committee on the breeder’s committee determinations.

“Simply putting forth a whole new regulation without having any idea of how to enforce it becomes a useless piece of paper,” Bournival said.

According to county information, in the past year pit bull dogs have seriously injured a Springdale florist in Hot Springs for the 2011 Thanksgiving holiday and most recently a young boy and a 12-year-old girl celebrating her birthday. The young girl, her hand bandaged, attended Monday night’s committee meeting accompanied by her father.

Bournival said the committee meeting also revealed “a lot of apparent support for other things regarding dog owner responsibility.”

“Owners taking responsibility seemed to be the theme of the night. Again, what does that entail? There was talk of micro-chipping, spaying and neutering programs, breeder programs, controlling breeders, backyard breeders. There was talk of mandatory training classes. There was a whole list of ideas that were thrown out that would fall under the category of responsible ownership.”

Bournival said time will tell whether the owners of vicious dogs in the county will obey a stronger animal control ordinance perhaps requiring them to keep their dogs on a leash or confined to the owner’s property.

“I can’t get into their minds. The truth of this whole situation is if they’re not going to be responsible, they’re not going to do anything that we adopt. They’re simply going to do what they’re going to do and any amount of legislation, restrictions, bans or requirements, they’re strictly not going to follow them. Then that would be a reactive case,” she said.

She said “we have to be realistic” that some “irresponsible” county residents would probably not obey an enhanced county vicious dog law.

“But I think if we work together and we put together a reasonable, effective tool that we will alert people one more time. It is a document that can be given to individuals, because maybe they just don’t understand what they’re doing is not responsible. It’s a tool. It’s a start,” Bournival said.

In a related matter, Bournival said the countless “verbatim, cut-and-paste” emails she received from pit bull support groups throughout the United States prior to Monday’s meeting had no effect on her or the meeting.

She said many of those emails “had the same spelling mistakes” further indicating that the emails were generated from outside special interest groups.

Bournival said she quickly realized which emails were from local constituents and which emanated from outside groups. She said she “eventually started to delete” the special interest group emails.

“We were prepared last night for a lot of outside influences,” she said. “Our feeling right from the very beginning is that this is a county issue. This needs to be decided by the people of this county. What’s happening in the rest of the world doesn’t affect us. What happens to our people is what is important.” ... 769818.php

Re: Garland County, AR

Posted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 3:19 pm
by heather
Garland County, AR to vote on amendment to vicious dog ordinance. ... amendment/

Re: Garland County, AR

Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:20 pm
by heather

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Re: Garland County, AR

Posted: Tue Jul 09, 2013 6:21 pm
by heather
Last night, Garland County, Arkansas passed a law targeting "high risk" breeds. ... sk-breeds/

Re: Garland County, AR

Posted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:23 pm
by heather ... sk-breeds/

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