MAUMELLE, Ark. – Placing a ban on Pitbulls and other perceived dangerous breeds has been a hot topic around the country for years. Now, the debate is hitting home for Central Arkansas as Maumelle once again looks at removing a ban on certain dog breeds. The move comes as part of Ordinance 1022, which would change city code to reclassify dangerous animals in an effort to assist Animal Control officers. Listed in the Ordinance is the lifting of the breed ban, allowing animals like Pitbulls back into the city.
13-year-old Dezstin Collins used to own a Pitbull. He says the dog was as affectionate at they come and a great companion to his family.”He was a good dog, fun to keep around,” Collins said.”Yeah, a sweet dog.” But the breed is currently banned in the city of Maumelle, something this new ordinance could change.
An initial motion was introduced to flip the ban in 2019 but didn’t pass. Now, city aldermen are trying again to see what can be done. Public opinion has been split on the matter, as illustrated in March 15th’s council meeting. In a written letter to councilmembers, one resident said,”Removing the Pitbull and Bull breed bans would certainly take that sense of safety away,” while another citizen countered,”Irresponsible owners are the problem, not the dog.”Collins says he agrees with the sentiment that it’s up to the owner’s care and training to determine if a dog is “dangerous”, not the breed.
National groups are also sharing their opinions on the move. In a written statement, Repeal BSL (breed specific legislation) said in part,”All dog owners should be held to the same standards of care, control and containment requirements, regardless of breed or perceived breed type. Breed discriminatory legislation only serves to placate fears without acknowledging or addressing the real issues underlying dog bites.”
The issue still has some time to be worked out. At last week’s meeting, it was suggested that the motion be split into two separate ordinances, with the breed ban going to the ballot in next May’s municipal election. The rest, including reclassifying dangerous animals, would be decided by the council. Their next meeting is in April.
You can read more about the ordinance here.