November 15, 2017

City council revisits dog ordinance

By Annette Tait
To many people, dogs are more than pets or companions – they’re family members with an integral part in their owners’ daily lives. This was evident in Lacy Yunker’s appearance before the Center City Council to advocate for her dog, which is part pit bull.
“We’ve had him 11 months and he’s the kindest dog we’ve ever had,” Yunker said. “Any dog can be vicious -- it doesn’t have to be a pit bull.”
Yunker stated that many cities are getting rid of their anti-pit bull ordinances, a trend that started in the late 1980s. In recent years, cities have begun revising ordinances to focus on “vicious” or “dangerous” dogs -- those that attack unprovoked -- rather than on specific breeds.
“Other cities are putting more responsibility on the owners -- you fine the people for not having dogs on leashes,” Yunker said, adding that her dog is kept in a kennel inside a fenced yard when she’s not at home. “If I’m gone, he’d have to get out of the kennel and then out of the fence.”
Council discussed revising the dog ordinance last summer, but no action was taken. Later, after complaint calls were received by the city, the Sheriff’s Office was directed to enforce the ordinance as it stood. This led to concerns being raised by several families who own pit bulls, as well as an individual whose service animal is a pit bull.

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