New Albany to discuss pit bull ban

The New Albany Board of Aldermen will likely examine the issue of imposing a permanent ban on pit bulls within the city limits.

The city’s animal control officer Jim Taylor came before the board in early January to request that the city enforce a ban on the breed.

“I’ve gotten numerous calls over the last two months on pits running loose in the city,” Taylor said.  “Many of these dogs are dangerous and I just think a permanent ban on them in the city would help to solve the problem.”

Taylor, who was hired as the city’s animal control officer in the fall of 2009, presented an ordinance from the city of Ripley that would set heavy fines for anyone who owns a pit bull in the city limits.

“Under this ordinance, any owner of a pit bull would have two months to get them out of the city or there would be $1,000 fine,” Taylor said.  “You could certainly adjust the fines to whatever you think they should be, but I think this is needed.”

Under New Albany’s ordinances regarding dogs,  owners of any breed are required to keep them in an enclosed area with a concrete surface, surrounded by a four-foot fence.  New Albany also has a leash law.

Currently, any resident of New Albany who owns a pit bull must register them with the city.  There are 59 pit bulls registered.

Ward One Alderman Jeff Olson said that he agreed that a ban on pit bulls would be good for the city.

“I just want to go on record and say that I agree 100 percent with Jim,” Olson said.  “I think this is a problem.”

Alderman At-Large Scott Dunnam showed concern that such a ban would punish citizens of the city who had well-behaved pit bulls and had registered them at city hall.

“I think it would be unfair to them to force them to remove their dogs if they’re not the problem,” Dunnam said.

Ward Two Alderman Johnny Anderson also had concerns about passing a ban, asking Taylor why he could not just enforce the city’s current ordinance on dangerous animals.

Taylor told the board that he is currently following that ordinance, but that, either owners were paying the fines and then letting their dogs run loose again, or simply not picking their dogs up from his facility.

“It’s just a potential for danger,” Taylor said.  “I know that some owners have well-behaved dogs, but most pit bull owners train these dogs to attack.  I just want you to know that if it comes down to me or the dog, should it try to attack, I’m going home every night.”

 New Albany Mayor Tim Kent said that, while he believes there is a need for some sort of ban on pit bulls, he also thinks the board should look at grandfathering in registered pit bulls who are behaved.