Residents speak out against pit bull ban in Bootheel town

Tuesday, October 13, 2009 ~ Updated 11:10 AM

SENATH, Mo. -- Several residents of Senath attended the Senath City Council meeting in support of keeping their family pets, which would be taken from the homes as stated in a recently proposed ordinance banning pit bulls from the City of Senath.

Mayor Joe Lane asked the individuals present at the meeting to choose one individual to represent the group and speak to the board.

The group chose Leslie Brooks as a representative to take the floor and speak to the board.

Brooks informed the council that the push animal rights has been around since 1635.

"I feel what's happening now is that animal rights is being compared to racist and sexist views of the past," Brooks said. "Animals have rights too, and animal law is now being studied in a majority of law schools."

She added that this shows that animals rights are on the rise.

"Why should our dogs have to suffer because of their breed," Brooks said. "Why should all the families and dogs have to suffer for the complaint of one dog."

Brooks noted that she felt that the all owners of such a breed should not be punished. She explained that she felt that the dogs should be grandfathered in because if not there will be a lot of families hurting.

"It's not your children that will be crying themselves to sleep," Brooks said.

"Innocent people should not have to suffer for one dog. This is no way to treat man's best friend."

She added that she hopes and prays that the council keeps in mind the families that would be hurt by this ordinance.

Lane noted that he had talked to the deputy sheriff recently about a dog attack around Campbell where the dog attacked the owner and it was a pit bull. The owner is now at Memphis, Tenn., in the hospital in the ICU, Lane added.

"This stuff does happen," Lane said.

Brooks noted that it was listed in a local newspaper that the dogs taken would be euthanized if they were not found homes.

Lane explained that this was the way all dogs were handled, to his knowledge.

Alderman Patsy Davis noted that if the dangerous dog ordinance, currently in effect in the city, would have been followed properly, then this situation would not have occurred.

City Attorney Johnny Dalton added that the only difference between the proposed ordinance and the active dangerous dog ordinance was that the current ordinance did not say that pit bulls are specifically prohibited in the city.

"It did define pit bulls as a dangerous dog, but not prohibited," Dalton.

He added that if a dog was considered dangerous under the ordinance, then there were specifications on how the dog was to kept.

The council decided to postpone the passing of a new ordinance and attempt to fix the problem by more strictly enforcing the current dangerous dog ordinance.

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